Personally, I want the holiday season to be about our faith. We celebrate Jesus' birth at Christmas. We believe that God gave us the most precious gift...a piece of Himself...born as a baby in the most puzzling combination of humility (delivered in a stable) and splendor (announced with a chorus of angels + a signaling star). This God/man experienced human emotion, shared wisdom + compassion, and sacrificed His life so that we can be in relationship with Him. This gift is our life.
I love that the holidays point many of us, with or without this faith, toward drawing close to family...reveling with friends...sharing love...celebrating light in the darkness. And yet, we often spend more time focused on preparing decorations, food and gifts...than on what we truly desire from the holidays.
So once we've figured out where we want our focus to be...here are a few ways that we can put all the rest of it in proper perspective. Here are a few ideas for an alternative holiday:
-Buy Nothing Christmas :: This doesn't have to mean that there is nothing to give or receive. Maybe gifts are handmade, experience related, from the kitchen, personalized playlists, a story read-aloud, or...
-Hundred Dollar Holiday :: I check this little book out from the library (+ read it) every year. I haven't quite gotten there, but it gives me a bit of perspective. This could probably be a more honest name for the above...because it allows for a little additional expense for quite a lot of festive fun. :)
-Advent Conspiracy :: A version of the first two...but the money that usually would have been spent on Christmas gets donated toward building clean water wells in communities that still lack access to clean water. This access changes people's lives in so many ways...increased education, health, and well-being. This concept could of course be adapted to serve any chosen project, but clean water is the most basic of human needs. This option could be especially great for extended family.
-Christmas is for giving, not getting :: This is the one that I wish I would have come to sooner, because...it keeps Christmas in true perspective...and think of all the fun there is to be had as a family!
And here are a few more...alternative-light...ways to get some perspective:
-Something they want, something they need, + an experience to share :: Great guideline for parents thinking about gifts for their children. The budget is versatile. That experience could be a swapped board game, movie tickets, an afternoon at an indoor pool, or...
-Set a (smallish) dollar limit/(small) gift number limit for each child
-Experiences + consumables only :: Experiences can get pricey, but they don't have to be. Get creative.
The pictured print (by Jordan Grace Owens) sits in the spot where I spend time reading my Bible, praying, and being quiet + open to what God has for me each morning. It reminds me of my focus then...and it seemed fitting here to remind me of what I want to bow to...consumerism, stress, debt, busyness, + stuff...or love, compassion, reverence, gratitude, + joy.
What are some of the ways you keep Christmas in perspective? I would truly love to hear!