Christmas Done Right

by - 2:32 PM

Christmas, man.

Am I right?
*Cue uproar of laughter*

I worked retail for 5 years, and as much as I [mostly] enjoyed those two jobs, they completely RUINED the holiday season for me. Please don't get me wrong--I'm not a Scrooge by any means, I actually quite enjoy Christmas--but experiencing Christmas time as a retail worker kind of took away the magic. Who wants to work until 11:00 pm just so last-minute shoppers can get their purchases made? Not me! Your procrastination is not my problem. And don't even get me started about having to work on THANKSGIVING DAY (you know, that other holiday I'm supposed to spend with my family but I can't because you have to "score" some "deals" that secretly aren't any better than the other sales we have throughout the year).

Christmas, unfortunately, has become a commercialized holiday centered around buying ridiculous amounts of clothes, shoes, toys, accessories, electronics, automobiles, and countless other unnecessary things. It is a time where we make lists and expect to receive these things for no other reason other than "it's Christmas." We spend and spend and spend in hopes of making others happy, while for most people, that means going into debt and working extra hard the first part of the next year to pay it off, which brings the opposite of "happy". You can't even run to the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk for breakfast without being bombarded by jams of traffic which make you want to scream profanities (oh, is that just me?), then having to wait in the check out line for 7 whole years. 

A time of year that was originally intended to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the World and all of the joy that that in itself brings, has become the annual world-wide marathon of worry, stress, and in a lot of cases, pure selfishness. 

When I was in the Fourth grade, my school put on a play titled "The Littlest Christmas Tree", and by some random chance, I was cast as the lead role, The Littlest Tree. I don't really remember much of that play, other than I was the tree that was always getting picked on by the bigger trees and I think I had to fake cry once or twice... but one special song from that production comes to my mind every year at this time: 


Christmas is love

Christmas is caring

Christmas is friends together sharing

Christmas is time for children to sing
songs of the happiness Christmas will bring

Christmas is laughter, hope and joy
filling the hearts of girls and boys

Christmas is what our dreams are made of

but more than anything, Christmas is love

But more than anything,

Christmas is love.


Love is not a new Mercedes in the driveway with a big red bow. Love is not a trip to the Bahamas. Love is not piles upon piles of obnoxious toys that will end up not being used in a month (need I remind you that the baby Jesus was only given 3 gifts?).*

No, none of that is love. To quote a sign that sits in my in-laws home, "True love was born in a stable". 

The scriptures tell us "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

I don't know about you, but everlasting life sounds pretty dang good to me. God gave us His Son, that we might LIVE. That is the truest form of love I have ever known. I'm not yet a mother, but I can imagine that giving up your child, and watching them suffer would not be an easy thing to do, yet He did it for all of us. The greatest gift that was ever given was Jesus Christ. 

To clear things up, I am not saying that there should be no gifts given at Christmas, rather, I am saying that we should attempt to switch our minds to say and think "I want to give..." instead of "I want..."

For years, I have planned how I want to celebrate Christmas with my future family--specifically with my children. I want to teach them what Christmas is really about, and put it into practice. I don't want to ask my children. "what do you want for Christmas?", instead I will ask them "what do you want to give for Christmas?" I will teach them to serve those in their neighborhood, community, and family. I will teach them to serve God. 

I want to bake a birthday cake for Jesus every Christmas, and before the kids blow out His candles for Him, in place of a traditional birthday wish, they will dedicate themselves to an act of service. I want to teach them about sacrifice and encourage them to give up one of the toys or gifts they receive and give it away to someone else--because there is always someone out there less fortunate than we are. 

And the best part of all of this is that it will all be their ideas. It has been my experience that children are fully capable of being selfless, kind, and thoughtful. I truly believe that starting them young with this kind of Christmas mentality could have a huge impact on the world and how we celebrate Christmas.

The apostle Paul taught the elders of Ephesus, saying "...It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)

So I ask you, in what ways can you give? Not just this time of year, but always?

I know this post is probably beating the dead horse, but I wanted to offer my two cents and see what your opinions are on the subject. What are some ways you help your family have a Christ-centered Christmas? 

Gifts or no gifts, Christmas is a time to spread love. It is my hope that you will all have a JOY-filled holiday. I pray that those who are away from home will find comfort in friends. I wish those that are less fortunate will find warmth, shelter, and happiness. I pray that those of us who are missing someone for the first time this Christmas will rejoice in their fond memory. Most of all, I pray we will remember the true reason for the season.

photo used from lds.org

Merry Christmas, my friends.

"God bless us, every one."

*(For more of my thoughts on this subject, refer to Mr. Grinch's rant at the Whobilation.)

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