I’ll bet you’re already envisioning what Christmas will be like at your house. Perhaps it will include a service somewhere, family gatherings, a special breakfast, gifts under the tree, visits to local lighting displays and lots of great food.
You probably have other special traditions that are unique to your family and all those things are good and right to enjoy. Christmas should be a time of celebration, joy and family.
However, what might it be like if we allowed Christmas to take a significant turn in our home and we did something radically different? What if we made it a day more of giving than getting? What if we did one of the simplest, yet most memorable holidays yet?
A few suggestions. First, think about purchasing a gift that keeps on giving. World Vision and other agencies have catalogues where you can buy an animal, for example, that would help keep on feeding a family in another country. Their brochure or website is usually full of ideas from small to large that are difference makers and would model for your children what it means to really sacrifice for someone else.
You can invite your children to be a part of the decision-making process, too, and have lots of fun picking out just the right gift. You can also get more information about whom you will be helping plus follow up later.
Second, think about only giving each other one or two gifts this year. Explain that you’re going to use the money you save to help others or you want to just simplify the day and focus on its real meaning. Another option is to just limit the amount you spend on each other but see who can get the most for the money.
Third, read the Christmas story together and/or watch a video that will help you think about Christmas as a family. Even in Christian homes, the actual story of Jesus’ birth can get lost in all the busyness that we allow to crowd into our homes. You can count on the TV networks to only show holiday movies that get no deeper than dreams, trees, smiles, and snowmen. Give your family better.
Fourth, go serve others somewhere on Christmas Day. There are usually nursing homes, shelters, and homeless camps who would love to have a family like yours come and spend a part of the day with them volunteering or just talking to people. Or if you’re willing to consider bigger ideas use your holiday time off to do a missions trip.
You can no doubt come up with many more ideas but think about making this the most unique kind of Christmas ever. I know your family will never be the same and you’ll have a memory that you will talk about for a long time.