Until 2 years ago, Mark and I were doing what 98% of the population does on Christmas, spend so much money and focused on the all the wrong reasons to celebrate Christmas. We would find ourselves kinda depressed or a feeling like this is it? All the planning, shopping and excitement of getting together with family and then seconds after the gifts are opened and dinner is eaten we had the feeling like this is it! All of that and its all over in one day.
All the gifts we bought the kids and our family members just never seemed enough. So, we would go out to the stores just one more time and buy just a few more gifts to put under the tree. Half the time we just bought the gifts for our kids because heaven forbid our kids go to school and don't have all the cool and latest toys and gadgets as their friends. Every year we were trying to out do ourselves from the next year and it was getting exhausting and we didn't like what this was teaching our kids.
God spoke to our hearts. We were having those feelings like who is this for? We knew it wasn't for God because he doesn't need this stuff. It wasn't really for our kids, because they didn't need it. Was it for us? Where we sucked in to the materialism and commercialism of this world telling us that more is better? Of course the answer was Yes.
We have changed our traditions on how we celebrate Christmas. Yes, we still do Santa but its know where like it use to be. We give our kids a FEW gifts and we don't over spend, which is not easy! (Makenna and Markus know longer believe in Santa. When they asked us if he was real Mark and I didn't want to lie to them. We wanted them to understand Santa was for fun and using our imagination but we wanted them to know that God is real and to know and believe in the true spirit of Christmas) We have taught them the true meaning of Christmas which isn't just looking at the manager you put on your fireplace. Its not about just picking up a tag on the Christmas tree at church and buying a gift a target. (this is nice but its so much more) Its about Jesus and his birth. Its about giving to him. I don't share this story to pat myself on the back to say Mark and I are the greatest parents, because we are not. This is all God and his doing. We really want our kids to experience what it means to give, to see the pain in the world and to truly recognize how blessed we are. To put others before ourselves.
Two years ago a friend of mine shared a story on what she was doing for the homeless. Mark and I were able to do it with the kids. You don't need a Church or a huge group of people to do the work Jesus has called you to do! We made lunches for the homeless. Makenna wrote Scripture on an index card and put it in the bag and we went down to the heart of Detroit to a shelter. It was great learning experience for them and then after we took them for a treat to Lafayette Cony Island! (they have been wanting to go there because they watched in on TV diners!!!) This year we are doing something completely different. They still talk about it to this day!
This year don't kill yourself because you can't keep up with the Joneses or yourself from the previous years. Instead put the focus on the one who matters and do something for someone else this year. It will give you more joy then giving another present to someone who really doesn't need anything but your love!