Ever since I was very young I have loved Christmas. As a child if you had asked me what my favorite holiday was, I would have quickly replied that it was the 25th of December. However, as an adult I have become disillusioned with the whole season. It is crazy in my mind that all holidays are defined by how close they are to Christmas. Soon, we will even know how many days are between the 4th of July and Christmas! I tire of all the lights and the decor after about the second month they are up, which now is usually around November. Thanksgiving, what is Thanksgiving? It is just Eve of the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year! In some ways it has made me want to become anti-Christmas.
I realized though, that feeling that way was no more appropriate than buying into the over-commercialization of Christmas. So it has lead me to try and decipher what really makes this holiday tick. I know the easy (and cliche!) answer is to, "Put Christ back in Christmas", but truly that is a little too trite. I have begun to evaluate the traditions and schedules to determine what will really make Christmas special and meaningful to my family. This year I am trying some new things. Joel and I have decided to really scale back in the gift department. My mom convinced me that buying no gifts wasn't really fair, but I do not have plans to spend more than about $25 on the kids. Instead, I plan on wrapping things I would have bought them no matter the season. I think that will help to remind me of the blessings we receive all year, like new clothes. Also, I have decided to make sure I am really thinking about things I "always" do, like filling an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and throwing coins in the Salvation Army bucket.
I would really like to have a chat with myself when I was about 12. I did some really clever things to celebrate and I really seemed to be able to catch the true spirit of the holiday. I think in a lot of ways it was because it was all fresh and new, and I wasn't so worldly-"wise" and over-scheduled. I want this year to be different, new things and new ways. Christmas should be anticipated, not dreaded. I will let you know how it goes!