Anyone who knows me would understand why this is such a difficult topic for me to approach – I adore Christmas. Christmas is a feeling, a season, a time of year for giving, sharing, family, and warmth. Christmas is warm fireplaces. It’s blankets and hot cocoa. It’s the smiles on the face of my children when the lights turn on for the very first time. That’s why I’m focusing on remembering the meaning of Christmas rather than the gifts this year.
Remembering The Meaning of Christmas
For children, however, it’s harder to separate Christmas and gifts. All they see is a jolly man in a suit who brings them presents and the stores are at us every turn trying to take the money from of my pockets to theirs with one more package under the tree.
I’m adamantly against excess consumerism and yet hypocritically happily participate year after year just to see one more smile, just to make the wow a little bigger, and all for the sake of making my kids’ day as special for them as it is for me.
You don’t have to be broke or give up gifts
This year I’m trying to not only be more creative in my gift giving but also to work on helping my children see the value in the experiences that make Christmas special, not the things they will get.
We can afford gifts, and we are buying gifts. We’re just lowering the amount of gifts the kids receive, and removing the junk. There’s gifts that we purchased last year that the kids still have hardly played with! And others they play with all the time.
Christmas is religious for some
I grew up Catholic, so there was a strong religious focus for Christmas in my childhood home. We always went to Christmas Eve mass, I participated in the pageant, and I loved singing Christmas carols.
If your family has those traditions, rediscover the meaning of Christmas and focusing on that. Spend time teaching your kids about your own beliefs, the traditions, and so on. Make it more about that and less about stuff.
What Christmas means to my family
In my house, Christmas means more than just getting gifts. It’s about spending time as a family and Christmas traditions. It’s warm and cozy. But, it should also be about spreading that Christmas spirit and joy to others.
Giving is an important part of Christmas for us. That means making gifts for teachers, bus drivers, family members, etc. It’s also important that we have that family time around the holidays.
So what’s on our Christmas lists?
- Less shopping, more activities
- Home made, thoughtful gifts rather than store bought
- Instead of buying expensive advent calendars, planned daily activities
- Taking the time to appreciate what we already have and spending that time as a family
- Starting new traditions for our family that don’t involve buying more things
Kids prefer it
I think I’m putting too much worry about them being disappointed. We all know kids prefer time than stuff anyway and they will still get gifts. At our house, my kids get two Christmases because my ex and I have shared custody. That means double the stuff!
But in my experience, kids also love having family time. They’re excited to attend Christmas events, see the lights, and drink hot cocoa by the fire. Little things are exciting! You don’t have to go crazy to make kids happy.
Do things your way
The truth is, you have to find the meaning of Christmas yourself. It’s going to have a different meaning for you and your family than it does in mine. Overall, though, the true meaning of Christmas is tradition and family time, not buying stuff. Keep that in mind with your holiday plans.