This year I have been giving some of the Dalat staff a hard time for starting to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving is even over. In the U.S. it no longer surprises people that in mid-November you will see Christmas decorations already on display in stores and shopping malls. The Christmas season has become incredibly important to many businesses and corporations around the world. Many stores throughout the U.S. will do 75% of their business in the months of November and December.
I love Christmas for many reasons, and one of them is the gifts. No, not what I personally get from my family or what is under the tree, but more the fact that we have a season where we seek to give to others. I love it for the gift that is the purpose of the season – Christ and what that represents to my family and me. The spirit of giving and receiving is wonderful and deserves to extend beyond the holiday season.
Each year pastors preach sermons and editors write articles about the commercialization of Christmas and the loss of the real purpose for the season. I join them in their concern, but instead of writing about it, I simply suggest that we take small steps this year in our families to nullify some of the commercialism and materialism that is seeping into our celebration of Christ’s birth. Listed below are some suggestions I found that might help you and your family stem the tide of the commercialized Christmas. This list is a little lengthy but by no means complete and may even help you germinate some of your own ideas:
- For a gift this year write a letter to each of your family members listing the 10 things you love about them. If you have children, help them write a letter to each family member.
- Give the gift of time to your children in different ways – a commitment throughout the year to set time each month/week/day with them. You can do this with a certificate that states the time you plan to give to them.
- Give of yourself – a coupon book for future services (back rubs, dates, mowing the lawn, building furniture, changing diapers, etc.) that can be redeemed by the family member.
- Instead of buying a toy or something from the store, see if you can find a book that you loved growing up and give it to your child. If you can find the actual book you had somewhere in storage have it rebound and write a note on the inside cover.
- Buy a game for the family that can be played together throughout the year (anything that turns off the TV and has the family having some fun together is a golden gift).
- Make them work for it. . . instead of giving the gift straight to the child and have him/her unwrap it, give it to your child by means of a treasure hunt. The fun of the treasure hunt will make the gift more memorable.
These are just some suggestions. If you have some that you already do with your family, or new ideas you’ve thought of after reading the list, let me know. I would love to hear about them.