|Posted on November 25, 2018 at 9:50 PM|
Christmas is definitely a time to give and receive. Unfortunately, many have allowed the commercialism of the season to become more of a focus than the true spirit of the season. For a lot of people, the stress of buying gifts is so nerve wrecking and stressful that many don’t enjoy this time of year and for the most part wait with baited breath for the season to end. They have forgotten that the season is not about gift giving alone. It is so much more.
It’s about the spirit of giving and sharing, which may be a tangible gift, but may also be your time, your talents, your love, your help. It’s about family bonding and doing things together as a family that you don’t otherwise have a chance to do. I once asked my youngest son, who was a teenager at the time, to give me one sentence to summarize what Christmas means to him. His exact words, “It’s a special time of year for family to enjoy each other, spend time together, be happy, and escape any bad things that happened the rest of the year. Too many people get too bogged down in the gift giving.” That, to me, sums up what Christmas should mean.
So…how can you change the tide and enjoy an awesome Christmas that is truly about the spirit of Christ?
I want to provide a few suggestions to keep the Christmas spirit high and make sure you have an awesome Christmas celebration without getting caught up in the stress of the commercialism of the season. In today’s blog, we are going to deal with the foundation of family joy of the season -- creating family traditions that should and can grow to mean just as much as the gifts under the tree.
Look at your family circumstances…what makes sense for YOUR family? Christmas is a time of celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The message of the Cross is that we are all unique individuals with our unique purpose. Such is the Family. Each family has its own personality, its own characteristics, its own way of being. Think about what things you can do, traditions you can begin, within your family circumstances to make this season special.
Family traditions provide value far beyond the moments it takes to perform the activities. Traditions provide a sense of stability and consistency for the family interactions. They enhance the family identity and aids in helping family members build a sense of trust. Family members find security in the fact that no matter what things change, the family traditions provide consistency in which all family members can depend. It is therefore critical that if you start a tradition, you keep it up. Family members, no matter how old, will depend upon tradition to be maintained. What traditions can you begin to enhance your family Christmas celebration?
CHRISTMAS TRADITION IDEAS TO CONSIDER:
1. Start "Family Holiday Movie Nights"
Beginning the first week in December, identify a night dedicated to watching Christmas or other inspirational movies. Make it cozy by having everyone get comfortable (pajamas, loungewear, etc.), get pillows, blankets, make popcorn, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies. This simple family activity will be a special way to bond, promote communication, and have some fun. The great part about this tradition is that it does not have to end on Christmas Day. Make it your family night activity to keep the family in tune with each other.
2. Go on a "Christmas Tour of the Town"
Choose a day to get as many members of the family together as possible, immediate family and extended family, to take a walking or driving tour through the area of town that has the most decorated neighborhoods. As lame as your teens will tell you this sounds, it’s a wondrous thing to see the lights and displays at Christmas. It has a way of infusing everyone with a little Christmas magic, even when they don’t know they want it. This is also a great time to talk, laugh, sing, and bond as a family…and, unless you decide to go to a Stone Mountain Park, it’s a completely free Christmas activity.
3. Come up with a "Christmas Family Recipe"
Food is the key to any holiday celebration. Every family should have at least one recipe that is a must for the Christmas season. Have a family meeting and have each person come up with some ideas for a Christmas Family Recipe. Make a big deal of it. Let them know that this is will just between family members to be passed down to the generations to come. Then…get in the kitchen and experiment until you get the best recipe outcome. The fun part is to have everyone participate in the experimentation, even if it’s only as a taster. The added advantage will be that by the time you end the family meeting, you will probably have more than one recipe as well as many new ideas for your Christmas dinner. My family has a number of recipes that my grandchildren now expect to see every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love it!
4. Have an Annual "Let’s Make Christmas Decorations Party"
Have the family to get together for a family gathering to make some special ornaments for the Christmas tree or decorations for around the house. This is a chance for you and the kids to put on the creativity cap. The key is to let the creativity, not control, flow. The younger ones may make ornaments that are not perfect, but it will be so special to them. Have finger foods for everyone to nibble while they create. The dollar stores and hobby stores have all kinds of things you can use to make decorations. Need some jump start ideas, check out the links below to get the creative juices flowing:
Hint Hint: Stringed popcorn is still a traditions favorite.
5. Have a "Family Decoration Day"
Decorate the house for the holidays as a family. Choose a day that has the best chance of getting everyone together without being rushed. Take out the Christmas decoration an give everyone a task or a room to decorate. My eldest is almost 30 with kids of her own and she will get upset if I decorate and she is not involved. This will become a wonderful time of family sharing. You may even want to tell everyone to wear something Christmassy. Have eggnog or Christmas punch out for drinking and Christmas music playing in the background. It’s great fun!
6. Get a “You Are So Special” Ornament for the Kiddos
Each year, either purchase or make a special ornament for each child in the family. Make it an ornament that represents something special that is going on with that child. Each year, the family will have a ball remembering what each ornament represents…wonderful family bonding time. When the children leave home, they'll have a box full of ornaments from their childhood with which to decorate their first Christmas tree…or when they come home to visit, the tree will be a center of wonderful childhood memories. My two oldest still get a kick out of some of the one’s that I bought for them as children and we always add one special ornament for the year.
7. Make Christmas Giving a Family Affair
As much as you may think you don’t have, there is always someone who has less. Contact a church, family and children services, a community center, or a non-profit organization in your city and ask for the name of a family in need. Get your entire family involved, especially the children, in gathering food items and presents for the needy family. A few days before Christmas, make arrangements to deliver the basket to the family. Gather your family member, contact the family, and ensure that each person in your family give at least one gift to the other family …one family giving to another in true Christmas spirit.
8. Make Christmas Happen for Someone Who Has Little to No Hope
Another family giving activity is to give to the homeless. This may take a little planning, but will give you and your family great rewards. Gather some old blankets, coats, and gloves from immediate family, church members, neighbors, and people at work. Get your family together and make some meal bags (sandwiches, a boxed punch, a bag of chips, a fruit). Put a Christmas bow on each bag. With your family, especially the kids, take the bagged meal and the collected items to a shelter or place where the homeless ‘reside’ and give them away. This will truly make an impression on your children by helping them see what being without really looks like…especially if those you serve are among the thousands of homeless children on the streets. If you go to the bridge or alleys to give them directly to those in greatest need, be sure to employ safety, i.e. if you are a single mother with your children, get a male friend or law enforcement officer to be with you. You want to impress upon your children the gift of giving, but ensure their safety as well.
**Your Children and Grandchildren Will See Christmas Through Your Eyes. Remember that your kids are going to see Christmas how you see Christmas. If you dwell on what you don’t have or make the gifts received the biggest part of the season, you will see greed and selfishness reflected in their eyes. If you take delight in the smallest of things during the season, you will see the beauty of the true spirit of Christmas looking at you throughout the season in their eyes. Be a representative of the Christ who died for you. Make the season a season of love, joy, giving, and celebration!
If you have any tradition ideas for the readers, we’d love to hear them. Send your comments and ideas!
Love you much!