Last year I shared some great ideas from various bloggers for having a Christmas focussed on God. This year I have complied my own list of ideas to help you celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.
- Do away with all the commercialism of Christmas. This one is a bit extreme, but it’s a lot easier to remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas if you aren’t constantly staring at ornaments, bows, stocking, etc. One year David and I went without a Christmas tree simply because our schedules didn’t allow for us to go pick one up and decorate (we do live trees), and we were going to be with family over the holidays. Not having a tree or any other fun decor was a little saddening at first, but it gave me more time to reflect on God’s gift to us.
- Read the story of Jesus’ birth in both Matthew and Luke. Each narrative has some different details, which makes reading them both interesting, since it isn’t the same word for word. This would be a great family activity to do once a week for the month of December; simply read Matthew 1 in the first week, Matthew 2 in the second, Luke 1 in the third, and Luke 2 in the final week.
- Share the love of Christ in your community. You can donate time or goods to a food bank, help out at a homeless shelter, donate a bit more than usual to the kettle bell ringers at the mall (and make sure you take a moment to converse with them, too!). Sharing His love can also mean helping out a neighbour, or writing a heartfelt card to your child’s teacher.
- Include Bible verses in your Christmas cards. I love to send out Christmas cards to friends, family, and neighbours! There are a lot of beautiful cards that already contain passages of scripture, but you could just as easily write out a verse or two on an index card to tuck in the envelope. This may seem like a small and possibly insignificant thing to do, but the recipient of your card may not hear about Jesus any other way.
- Be mindful in your gift giving. Christmas shouldn’t be about stuff, but getting a few gifts is always nice, right? Instead of buying gifts for the sake of having something to give, why not find out what your family and friends REALLY want? Ask them for a list and pick one or two things from it that you know they will enjoy, and this way you are being wise with your money but also ensuring the gift won’t go to waste. Also remember that a heartfelt gift is often more appreciated than something you randomly picked up at the mall! If you have children, consider giving them fewer material gifts and instead provide them with experiences (such as a zoo pass, coupon for parent-child day out, lessons of some kind, etc).
- Listen to Christian Christmas music to remind you of the true meaning of the season. One of my favourite Christmas songs is “Grandma got run over by a reindeer”. It’s funny and silly, but not in line Christ’s birth. Although I do enjoy an occasional song about reindeer, snowmen, or a chubby guy, I’d rather be uplifted by my Christmas music. You can find some great songs on Youtube, but I like to listen to an online radio station called Air 1.
- Make time for family. Why is Christmas season so busy? It seems like a lot of people have a mental list of things they HAVE to do with their families (visit Santa, decorate tree, bake all day, visit a Christmas village, go look at lights, watch the parade, etc), but how important are those things really? Maybe instead we should all be snuggling down with our families, reading, watching a good movie, or just talking. Rather than rush around trying to cram as much seasonal fun as possible into a few weeks, why not focus on just being with loved ones? Invite your parents over for lunch, play in the snow with your kids (or grass, I guess, if you don’t have snow!), catch up with your spouse…oftentimes we all get so busy trying to create the perfect Christmas but we forget that the day will still come and go even if we do nothing.
Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful, busy, spending spree wrapped up in a pretty bow; you can still enjoy the season but hopefully these tips encourage you to do a bit of reflection this Christmas.