Christmas Is Not About Gifts
Christmas was never about gifts. It was always about one gift. The gift of the baby in the manger. Whether you're religious or not, this is where Christmas began. Christmas is a reminder and celebration each year of God's gift to us.
Fast forward to today, where things have changed beyond recognition. The first Christmas was small, poor, humble, messy, and full of wonder and joy. Christmases today seem to be a big competition (either be better than last year, or see if you can give the favourite gifts), a big excuse to show off (to people who are supposed to love us unconditionally anyway, or to people online who really don't care at all anyway), and most of all, a big spending fest. We have been conned into believing what advertisements and shopping centres and movies tell us Christmas is supposed to be: beautiful, big, fancy, expensive, time consuming, competitive, busy, stressful and romantic. And of course, when you have kids, it's all about Santa bringing toys. Not just one toy out of his big red sack, but lots of toys.
Those of us who have committed to the Merry Little Christmas Challenge have already decided that's not the sort of Christmas we want to have. We want to go back to the roots of what Christmas is all about: giving gifts that come from a place of love, spending time with our families and the people we love, and celebrating. God's gift was a baby, and therefore also the creation of a little family. I think that's why so many of us know deep down that Christmas is about family, and being together. It's not about the fancy lights and decorations, or the big special presents under our plastic trees.
This year, Christmas isn't about gifts. There will be gifts, no doubt, but what matters about them is the intention and thought behind them, and the joy you hope they will bring. It doesn't matter how much they cost, how big they are, how many there are, or even how much one is preferred over another.
What do you want Christmas to mean for your family? Have a real think about it. Write down five things. Five things you want Christmas to be about in your home. I know they will be different to what the majority of people do and value at Christmas time, but I bet most people want similar things. We just don't take the time to think through the mindless traditions we've set up in our lives (or that have been set up by others in our lives).
We don't take the time to stop and assess what in our holidays reflects our values, and what really reflects the values the media and big businesses want us to have.