It’s that time of year again. When I was a kid I looked forward to this month all year. Christmas was always my favorite.
One of my favorite memories in school is when I was in second or third grade and the classroom doors were open, then they opened the hallway doors and started bringing in Christmas trees for each class. Real ones! The cold air combined with the smell of the trees is burned into my memory. We made decorations for the tree. You know those chains you make by cutting pieces of construction paper and taping or gluing the ends together. Then we made ornaments to take home for our tree.
There was always something I enjoyed about Christmas. The older I get though, I don’t enjoy it as much. I feast on the memories of yesteryear, but the holiday has lost any appeal to me. I do listen to Christmas music, and I even do that at different times through the year. I think it’s more for feeling those old feelings than anything else.
I really don’t want to get into all the theological reasons I don’t like the holiday. I’ll just say do some research on it.
What really gets me though is that people go into debt to celebrate this holiday. People think they have to give their kids expensive gifts. Why? Why take out loans or run up credit card debt just so your kids can brag with the others about what they got? It makes no sense.
We say it’s about Jesus’ birth, but we don’t celebrate it like it is. The bible says to owe no man anything. I love what my wife said, “If it was about Jesus we’d be celebrating by working in soup kitchens and helping those in need.” She’s right. Jesus would be out among those who needed him most. It’s okay to celebrate the birth of the Savior, but we could do it in ways that require no debt, which means less stress.
One thing we did with our kids is baked cookies on Christmas eve. They enjoyed it and we did too. It cost very little and it made memories. Those are the things they will remember, not the gifts. I can barely remember any gifts I got for Christmas growing up. There are a few I remember, because I was a sneak and found out what they were before Christmas.
I think it’s more important to make memories with your family than giving expensive gifts. Maybe go out and help someone in need. Work a soup kitchen or bake cookies for the police. Do something that will imprint a memory and cause them to remember Christmas as a time for helping others.
My mom always made Christmas feel special. I don’t know how she did it and I think that’s the magic of it. We didn’t have tons of money but it didn’t matter. I didn’t even think of that as a kid. I felt rich. At the end of the day, it’s not about gifts, decorations or music. It’s about family. It costs nothing to spend time together. You’ll have fun and everyone will carry it with them for the rest of their lives.