With all of the shiny wrapping paper, box deliveries, and store “sales” drawing us to the more material side of Christmas, it can take some effort to keep our celebrations centered on Christ. However, remembering Him is what will help us feel the true joy of the Christmas season and help us focus on it’s real meaning. This is a hard habit to break. We love giving AND getting gifts and for those with kids it is so easy to want to fill up that space under the tree. (and the surrounding 3 feet am I right? I mean I bought that amazing wrapping paper partly as a decoration! Click here for a kid christmas gift guide)
So how do we find the simple joy in Christmas?
“Finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts. We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season. We can keep Him in our thoughts and in our lives as we go about the work He would have us perform here on earth.” [President Thomas S. Monson, “Christmas Is Love,” 2012 First Presidency Christmas Devotional.]
Here are a few fairly free ideas I’ve come across to help redirect this season and aim for a more simple but purposeful holiday:
- read a small part of the Christmas story each day/night- see our bible nativity advent idea here
- do a small act of kindness/service each day
- bake goodies as a family- and deliver to neighbors!
- do “12 Days of Christmas” or “12 Days of Christ” for someone who needs cheering up- Pinterest has some great, easy, cheap ideas!
- pray for Christmas spirit (sounds cliché but its true)
- establish a gift guide/limit and/or budget and stick to it
- decide a day to be done purchasing gifts and leave the rest open to enjoying the season
- write “love letters” to extended family members instead of sending gifts
- plan things to DO this holiday with your family instead of what to get
- serve at a local food kitchen or shelter
- minimize your belongings and donate them! try the first 15 days of The Minimalists 30 day game
- leave anonymous kind notes for family/friends/coworkers
- find new Christmas books at the library to read each night as a family
- watch videos about Christ (link to lds.org page and youtube page)
- sing Christmas carols! “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” -Buddy the Elf
This is by all means not a comprehensive list!
Keep it simple and do what brings joy and love to you and those around you. No matter how awesome service is- if you are frenzied your family and those you serve will no doubt feel it too. Choose less and do it full heart and soul. Happy Holidays!