As I was driving down the street to a client meeting this week, the song “Santa Baby” came on the radio. I have always disliked the song, mainly because her list for Santa makes her sound unbelievably greedy. For anyone who doesn’t know it, some of the words include, “Santa Baby, slip a sable under the tree for me, been an awful good girl…and Santa honey; I want a yacht, and that’s not a lot, been an angel all year…Santa cutie, there’s one thing I do need, the deed to a platinum mine,” and so on. As the song played, I thought about just how commercialized Christmas has become. Can you imagine how nice it would be to go back to simpler times, when the entire family gathered for dinner, homemade cookies and Christmas stories?
I avoided Black Friday this year. Honestly, there is nothing that I “had to have” and just the thought of going out all night and early morning seeking sales made me tired. I saw pictures of cars filled with bags of “stuff” and wondered why anyone would need so much. The pressure to find the “perfect gifts” has made us forget the real reason for the season.
Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I love decorating my house, listening to Christmas carols and baking. Oh, how I love baking! I love buying a gift for the ones that I love, and I usually start right after Christmas searching for the perfect gift for the following year. I don’t buy a lot, but I put a lot of thought into each gift that I buy.
I miss the days when a simple homemade gift was enough and was truly cherished by the receiver. My mom would spend months making her Christmas gifts. She probably had very little money invested. It was her love, and the time she devoted to creating our gifts that meant so much. Early in my marriage, my mom started making Christmas wall hangings. She would buy the pattern for one, make it, and then copy the pattern a couple more times so my brother, sister and I could each receive one. I know she spent a lot of time creating these gifts, and each year, as I decorate my house, I can remember the excitement on her face as I would unwrap her latest creation. My house always looks so festive, and I cherish each one of her masterpieces.
There has been a meme’ on Facebook that says each child should receive four gifts for Christmas – something to wear, something they want, something they need (underwear and socks, right?) and something to read. I think I would add a 5th gift – time with their parents making a memory. Planning a vacation together, or seeing Disney on Ice, or even spending an entire day playing in a park together creating memories to me is more important than a child receiving a pile of toys.
I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge. There are many ways to celebrate the holidays without adding stress to yourself and your credit cards. Your heart and the hearts of others will be blessed.
Mail Christmas Cards
No, I don’t work for the post office, but I love opening Christmas cards from friends and family members. It’s fun to get pictures of growing families and pets and reading about their adventures during the year.
Choose a Charity
Choose a charity and volunteer as a family. It can be feeding the homeless and those less fortunate. You can donate toys to a charity. You can help your children go through their clothes and toys weeks before Christmas and choose some items to donate to a children’s home. It will help with clearing out some of the old and making room for the new items your kids will receive for Christmas. It will bless those who may not receive anything.
Bake some Goodies
Spend a day making cookies and candy with your family. You can put down your phones and spend time talking with your family members as you decorate your cookies, and package them. Imagine the look on the faces of your family and friends when they see that you’ve created some delicious treats for them!
Look at Christmas Lights
Whether you drive around the city or walk downtown, it is always fun to look at Christmas lights. Plan an evening and visit the Indianapolis Zoo, where they have over a million lights on display.
Adopt a Family
There are many organizations who help adopt families for Christmas. Arrange to meet with the family and watch them open their gifts. It is heartwarming to see the eyes of the children as they open your gifts. It may be the only Christmas they receive.
Visit the Elderly
There are many people who do not have family who visits them during the holidays. Plan a time to visit, share memories, and maybe even sing some Christmas carols with them. It costs nothing but your time. Create memories. You may be that senior citizen one day who wishes someone would visit.
Attend a Christmas Concert
Find a church or a school who is presenting a Christmas concert and spend time with your family enjoying the music of the season. You can plan a special evening for your family by going out to dinner and then listening to the concert, or attending the concert and then going out for dessert. Either way, you will have a great time together as a family.
I sit on Santa’s lap every year. He probably doesn’t enjoy it, but there is something so childlike about visiting him and telling him what I want for Christmas. My list is usually short. I always hope my family can be together to celebrate, I always ask for world peace, and that the cookies I eat not go to my stomach, hips and thighs. We both laugh and then I have my picture taken with Santa.
Make Someone Smile
I have lost family members and friends this year, and I know Christmas will be difficult for many. Be there with hugs and a shoulder to lean on. Holidays without our loved ones are difficult. Show some love and be a friend to those who need you.
And finally, remember to be grateful for the beauty of the season. The lights, the smell of freshly baked cookies, the music on the radio and spending time with your family and friends are what makes the Christmas season so special. There is magic in the air during the holiday. If you believe, take the time celebrate the real reason for the season, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Have a truly blessed week!
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