Simplifying Christmas

It is not too late.  You still have time.  You can make a decision to simplify your Christmas celebrations in your own home this year.  You can make a decision to spend more time with your family members and less time fretting over your Christmas “to-do” list.  You can make a decision to offer a gift of your time or your money to someone or some organization who will not be able to give to you in return.  Many years ago, my extended family made a decision that adults (out of college) will “draw names” for Christmas gift giving.  AND one family each year selects the Family Christmas Gift (usually a non-profit or ministry with which that family is involved in some way).  All the rest of the families contribute to that charity at any level they choose.

You can make a decision to wrap gifts with recycled wrapping paper or the Sunday comics.  You can make a personalized gift tag out of an old Christmas card or even a plain 3 x 5 index card.  You can skip the wrapping completely–hide the gift somewhere and create a hunt with various clues for the recipient to find the gift.

You can even plan the way you want to spend Christmas Eve.  Take some time to discuss as a family:  Will you do something special with the family?  Will you invite your out of town family members to sit with you in worship, hearing the story of our Lord’s birth and singing with great joy?  Will you arrange your Christmas Eve meal or gift opening (some people can just not wait until Christmas Day) at a time so that it will not create a rush to get to church in time for worship with your church family?  Agree together on what is important for your family on this holy, holy night.  [For some Spanish speaking countries, Christmas Eve is la noche buena— the good night.  Indeed.]

On Christmas day you might make time to share favorite Christmas stories from the past with visiting family members.  If you are separated by distance, call them on the phone and ask about some of the family Christmas traditions and how they got started.  You can open gifts one at a time, appreciating both the gift and the giver.  You can put on your favorite Christmas music instead of the football game (at least for a little while!).  You can put Christmas dinner on the table with an idea of preparing just enough for those who will share the meal with you, reducing wasted food.

It is not too late.  The way you spend Christmas is up to you.


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