When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was an actual holiday, but now, Thanksgiving is the “day before Black Friday” and “the day a bit before Cyber Monday”. Why is this? Well, duh! Because it’s almost time for Chris-mass-shopping!
Forgetting the “t” in the above title was no accident. It seems all too common we’ve forgotten the “Christ” and we’ve gone from “Christmas” to “Chris-mass” because this celebration of Christ has become the most MASS-ive shopping time of the year. To keep the Christmas spirit HIGH we should look up to Him and continue traditions and customs that honor the spirit of love, joy, giving, and cheer!
- Build a gingerbread house with your kids
- Go carolling
- Volunteer or give to a toy drive
- Read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”
- Explain to your children how an imperfect Rudolph was loved by Santa the way we are loved by Christ
- Purchase a coffee or meal for the friend behind you
- Sip hot chocolate with loved ones by a fire sharing stories of Christmas’
- Watch Christmas movies that celebrate joy, family and Christ
- Say “Merry Christmas” as you pass people on the street
- Make ornaments together
- Focus on family, your blessings, and the Lord you serve on Dec. 25
As a kid my family moved to England. When we were there we celebrated our American holidays in our home and we chose to celebrate other holidays the way our British peers did when we were with them. We attended “Guy Fox” day having no idea what that was. We attended mass on Christmas Eve even though we weren’t Catholic and we didn’t trick-or-treat because the brits don’t celebrate Halloween. Instead we hosted a “haunted house” in our home Oct. 31 for the neighborhood kids and told ghost stories. We were guests in their country and we didn’t expect them to change their ways for us, but instead we acclimated ourselves to their culture out of respect.
However, in America, we’re slowly being expected to drop our way of doing things out of respect for immigrants from other countries and other religions? It’s become impolitically correct to say “Merry Christmas” for fear of offending someone? Can I just say, “WTF” to that? I’m all for respecting other countries, don’t get me wrong, but why should I change MY way of doing things because YOU moved here? Doesn’t that seem a bit backwards?
If someone says “Happy Hannukah” to me, I’ll likely say it in return. I’m not Jewish, but I have still respect for their holiday and their religion.
As an owner of a small business that sells children’s clothing and toys, I certainly hope for increased sales around the holidays, but I also feel very strongly that Christmas morning should not be about the gifts, even for the children. Yes, my children will find gifts under the tree and I hope yours will too, but…I don’t believe in the MASS amount of gifts and in children being spoiled simply because it’s Christmas.
I think it’s wonderful to give gifts and I love seeing everyone’s face light up when they open their presents, but I think it’s important to remind our children that the gift giving began beside a manger. The gifts were gifts that honored the King and we GIVE to show love. We GIVE because we want to, not because it’s expected and definitely not because it’s earned or deserved.
Do me a favor this year and keep the spirit of ChrisTmas high. Remind your children of the reason for the season. Hold hands and pray before your meals. Hold hands and pray a prayer of thanks after you open gifts. Read the story of Jesus’s birth on Christmas Eve and engage your children in those conversations.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!