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If you’re wondering how in the world Christmas is just four weeks away, join the club. While I had my head down with work and homeschool and life, the holidays snuck up on me.
Of course, this happens every year. I’m busy being busy and doing the next thing when suddenly “what to my wondering eyes do appear“…not Santa Claus, but certainly the Christmas panic. It shouldn’t be panicky, but you know what I’m talking about.
Decorations. Shopping. Baking.
Family scuffles. Holiday cards.
Hallmark movies. Music. Travel.
Where does it end? If you let retail stores and advertisements guide you, it won’t end until every last piece of sanity (and penny) is sucked out of you. There’s a lot of exhaustion and anxiety and borderline bankruptcy going on during the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I like to celebrate the birth of Christ. I like hot cocoa and sappy movies. I like shopping for gifts for my friends and family. I like it all. Even decorating. Especially decorating.
But I can’t have it all. And I can’t give it all. Nor should I.
If I haven’t celebrated Christ during the rest of the year, why should it matter at Christmas?
If I haven’t shown my family and friends how much they mean to me the rest of the year, I can’t make up for it at Christmas.
You might have concluded by now that we practice a culturally-restrained holiday. You’re right. We do not spend a month’s salary or run up a mortgage-size credit card bill to get everyone everything they could possibly want and more.
We steer away from fad gifts, so you won’t find me stalking the last Cabbage Patch doll or whatever the current hot gift is. Our children know Santa Claus is a game, not a real guy with a serious carb addiction.
Instead, we plan family traditions, such as baking cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, making homemade ornaments, looking at Christmas lights, and reading an Advent book every evening. We decorate for fun, not to rival the Griswolds in Christmas Vacation.
Ultimately, our goal is to build our family relationships and teach our children that Christ and family are more important than a new toy. Radical, I know.
So, if you’re dreading Black Friday and Cyber Monday, stop. Stop buying the cultural mandate that an over-the-top Christmas is the only way you’ll be remembered. Skip the Christmas panic, altogether.
Instead, sip your cocoa in the recliner binge-watching classic Christmas movies. Our favorite is Holiday Inn. It doesn’t get much better than Bing Crosby.
Trim the tree with less tinsel and more deformed salt-dough ornaments. Drive around one night admiring the hard work of other people. Decorate cookies and gingerbread houses to your heart’s desire.
Read an Advent story each night. We love the Jotham’s Journey series.
It boils down to making Christmas a holiday YOU enjoy without all the hype.
How do you celebrate Christmas?