Every year it seems there are more and more things to do and things that grab our attention during the holidays. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to return to the time when Christmas was more about family than all the gifts you can get? This year, Christmas has definitely taken on new meaning as we face it, for the first time, without my mom.
Christmas was Mom’s favorite holiday. Every year she would spend months shopping; gathering gifts for everyone. She always wanted to make sure the kids had as many of the things they wished for under the tree as possible Each year the pile of presents under the tree would grow. And this year? I don’t think the kids could care what’s under the tree—they all just wish their MaMaw was here to celebrate the day with them. Simple, right? Sometimes it’s best to get back to the simplified, uncomplicated way of things.
Therefore, if you’re dreaming of a simple Christmas, here are a few reasons why less is more… and how you can get there.
People are overwhelmed during the holidays. Rather than waiting until after Thanksgiving, most stores have started stocking Christmas items long before Halloween even gets here. It seems we’re inundated with the message to buy, buy, buy. You can break that cycle and return to some sense of sanity.
Choose a modest tree this year and then decorate it sparsely. Rather than placing tons of ornaments and tinsel on the tree, place a simple strand of lights and a few ornaments that have sentimental value to your family. Think about the first ornament you received when you got married. What about the ones your children made every year in school? Those are likely the ornaments which mean the most to you.
Don’t fall into the commercialized trap as far as presents are concerned. Suggest that everyone make gifts for family members instead of going out and spending until your budget busts from its seams. If you feel you must buy gifts, choose one large gift that can be for the entire family. The rest of the gifts should be ones you can make and give.
Charitable organizations or religious groups often place Christmas trees in malls with ornaments on them. You can choose someone from the tree and purchase one or more presents that person wants. This is a great way to help your children learn about charity and giving in a new and different way this year. They may decide that getting an ornament is a tradition the family should continue.
Give of your time rather than your money.
Anyone can go to the store and pick up something they think someone will like. The true gift giver will think of ways to show their love for another. They may spend time with someone who wants to learn a skill they possess. Are you a whiz at playing the guitar and have a family member who wants to learn? There’s a perfect Christmas gift that will mean much more to them than a new video game. Think of things you can do with those on your Christmas list instead of simply buying gifts.
Gather favorite family recipes throughout the months leading to Christmas. Take those recipes and create a family cookbook. Include family photos or stories and you’ll have an awesome gift which will mean so much to those who receive it.
Speaking of food—spend some time cooking together. Gather the family in the kitchen and make some holiday treats. Choose several cookies or candy so everyone will have their favorite. When the baking is done, share some of these goodies with the police or fire department to thank them for their service. Of course, don’t forget to make some for your family to enjoy as well!
Talk to your children about Christmas. Explain what it originally meant and what it means to you. Explain how your culture understands the holiday if it is different from how other people celebrate.
So how will you celebrate this year?
Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful; simply choose to make it otherwise. A simple Christmas is within your grasp if you seek out ways to be peaceful and avoid the stress of the holiday.