Trimming back Christmas-Focusing on the Messiah
I tested my kids by asking what they wanted for Christmas, and guess what? They named things they already had. And after that, they had a pretty hard time trying to name something else. That was just confirmation that trimming back Christmas is the right choice.
Parents, why are we breaking the bank to give the kids toys they’ll quickly get bored of, or quite possibly never really wanted in the first place? Things aren’t how they used to be when kids would have that one toy they waited all year for. I hate to say this, but my kids are over indulged. Not spoiled as in throwing tantrums, but that they don’t want for anything. Things are made so cheap that it’s easy to give gifts throughout the year. Then by the time Christmas comes around, they don’t really desire anything.
Why we’re trimming back this year
They already have more than they need
- We live in a time where there’s a Five Below or Dollar Store on every corner. Riddle me this, batman, how many times in the last month or two have you stopped to let the kids pick out a toy from someplace like this? It’s crazy that we’re constantly giving to our kids, and still they get to have a day of huge gift receiving. For what? Over the last few years we’ve been trimming back the huge mound under the tree. I’m not a Grinch, I just can’t justify giving gifts for the sake of “that’s just what you do on Christmas”. I’d rather enjoy time with my family doing something special, and guess what…the kids agree!
Are they even grateful
- The long game here is to teach our kids to be grateful. I mean, I get it they’re kids, it’s Christmas. I’m not talking about taking Christmas away entirely, just shifting the main focus of the day. We enjoy running downstairs early in the morning, grabbing our coffee and watching the kids enjoy their treasures. But I sometimes worry that we’re sending the wrong message. On Christmas morning the kids rip through the presents mumbling their thank you’s (that they don’t really mean) until they get to the gift they really wanted. Well if that’s the case, then why are we emptying our pockets on things they don’t actually want? I’m not accusing my kids of being treacherous, it’s just that gift giving isn’t as meaningful as it once was.
Jesus is the reason
- I don’t think Jesus ever intended for us to celebrate his birthday by going broke trying to fill the space under a tree. Friends, I think this point has been so overstated that it’s lost its meaning, but Jesus IS the reason. It’s the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the entire world. Leading up to Christmas our kids (even though they know what the holiday is really about) still need to be reminded to focus on others as Jesus would. Jesus has become the back burner reason for Christmas.
Honestly even for us, the adults, we can get so caught up and begin to feel as if doing something for someone else is the hassle we’d like to hurry and get out of the way so we can celebrate the real Christmas. That’s NOT what I want to show my kids.
How will this year be different?
There’s such a focus on making lists, and checking off names that we forget that Jesus wants us to be his hands and feet. If we’re giving, he wants us to do it from the heart. Give a meal, give a mom a break (seriously, an “afternoon off” coupon would be amazing for any mom), or simply make time to sit with a friend and catch up.
We’ll have a few gifts for each of the kids, but I’m refusing to let the commercialism of Christmas dictate what and how much to buy. After the gift exchange, we’ll spend the day loving on each other, making memories baking, and taking the day slow as we listen to worship music & sip on hot chocolate. I’m not even going to stress Christmas dinner. The more attention I put on a perfect day, the less attention I give to the perfect Savior.
It’s been a slow process of trimming back the Christmas of old and focusing more on Jesus, but in my heart I know it’s the right thing and we’ll continue in the years to come. I’m not telling you this in an effort to convince you to do the same, or to shame anyone’s choices and traditions. I’m sharing for all the parents who are doing the same and feeling a little guilty for it. I’m with ya Mama!
To really make the point that this time should be a reflection of Jesus and his sacrifice, we slow down each week to light the advent candles. How ’bout you? I’m all about sharing stories and growing together, I’d love to know what traditions your’e making to keep Jesus at the center of it all.