Last year I remember saying, "I hate Christmas - I just want to get it over with as soon as possible!"
That was the first sign our family needed to do something different.
Funny thing is... I think we were pretty tame comparatively speaking. We talked a little about Santa and a lot about Jesus, limited how many gifts we gave the kids (which always looks crazy when multiplied by four), we got up every Christmas morning and sang and visited with the nursing home residents while they ate breakfast. Not too bad, really.
I think the part of Christmas I don't enjoy has more to do with the atmosphere in general. The stores drive me crazy. They are salivating over our money. And, I can just feel the tension in the air as the shoppers around me are trying to find the perfect gift and stressing about how much money they are spending. They decide to just not think about it until January - but that doesn't really work.
I can't blame it all on others though. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. I have bought into the idea of using this time to show how much we care about our loved ones with a great gift. There was some kind of explanation about Jesus being a gift and we show our love by giving gifts to others. It was something like that - I don't remember. All I remember is that I bought it.
I do agree we need to express how much we care about our loved ones.
Every single day of the year.
We have chosen to put more thought into our gifts. Tony and I are working on some projects with the kids to give this year. I have to admit - it would be a lot easier to go buy something in the store. But, even though it is taking more thought, more time, (and maybe even more money by the time we get all of the supplies), I am less stressed out and am enjoying the the time we are spending working together on this.
The kids are having fun, too. Bonus!
They are excited about using some of our Christmas budget this year to put toward drilling a well for those who don't have access to clean water. I was amazed at this video when it compared how much money we spend at Christmas to how much it would take to offer clean water to everyone.
It reminds me of when Moses threw me off guard in this post. I still don't thank God for my water. Well, I did just now because I was just thinking about it. But, not on a daily (or weekly) basis.
I think I will be watching this video regularly throughout the Christmas season just to keep myself in the right mindset. I hope I don't cave and run to Walmart December 23rd and get into a fight over the last Tickle Me Elmo! (am I dating myself?)