Christmas has always been a special season for me. My mom used to buy Christmas gifts all year and squirrel them away. Each year she selected one gift to be the gift. It was for only one of us, but we were all excited about what that gift would be and whose it would be.
We woke up Christmas morning with a tree that was decorated over night and surrounded by gifts. We took turns opening the gifts one at a time so everyone could enjoy the thrill of seeing what each one got. Then the moment would come for the gift to be given and opened. It was always perfect! We all celebrated!
Christmas was about giving. We always found some way to make someone less fortunate than us happy too. A few years, we went to an orphanage and brought Jean home to share our Christmas. We each bought her a gift from our allowance and we tried to make her feel like a queen for the day. Some years we bought gifts, wrapped them, and took them to some family who lived in the poor part of our community. We always took food, as well as gifts.
Most of all, I remember the Advent Wreath and how the story of the first Christmas came alive to us little by little through the month before Christmas.
Here are some of the things we have practiced in our own family that you might like to incorproate into your own celebrations:
1. Do not go into debt for gifts. When we didn’t have enough money to buy expensive gifts, we bought ‘meaningful’ gifts. Sometimes the nicest gifts were the homemade coupons we made offering our services to those we loved that could be redeemed throughout the coming year.
2. Make the emphasis giving rather than receiving. Help your children learn to enjoy the delight their gifts give to others.
3. Find ways to reach out to those in need during the season. Get your kids involved in Angel Tree or Shoebox or some other outreach to the needy. Have them help buy, pack, and wrap the gifts; and when possible deliver the gifts. These encounters really leave a lasting impression on youngsters.
4. Remember to tell the story of Jesus’ first coming to our world so it becomes a part of their foundational beliefs. Then teach them to anticipate his second coming, too. The hope of heaven helps us through rough times we will face.
If you have stories of your Christmas, past or present, that you would like to share, please email me at: Diane
May you have a blessed Christmas season. Delight in the preparations and may your faith be contagious!