Like a lot of people, it’s another week closer to Christmas and I haven’t shopped a single thing….and I’m okay with that. I’m just enjoying my kids more and more everyday and taking time to chill with the hubby. After several weeks of feeling miserably sick, I am not into jumping into Christmas chaos.
It seems more and more people are feeling the stress of the season. All too often, money becomes the factor to which we determine if we have a “good Christmas”…to that I say, “bah humbug!” J When did we, and why do we, allow that kind of stress and guilt override the celebration of the birth of our Saviour?
At a doctor appointment today, the receptionist asked, “Are you ready for Christmas?” I smiled and said, “Everyday is Christmas!” Everyday I am thankful for the birth, life, death and resurrection of the baby born in a manger. Everyday, His gifts of love and grace overwhelm me. Everyday, I choose to give the greatest gift for “every Christmas day” and that’s the love of my Saviour.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to shopping and gift giving. I LOVE the Christmas season…the twinkling lights, the songs of cheer and decorating the tree. It’s the one time of the year that people agree on one thing: Giving.
Different answer than what you probably thought? Those who have faith in God enjoy being like-minded with others who share their faith – we can all at the same time, celebrate our Saviour. There are those who celebrate Santa and keep Jesus out of Christmas. BUT, whether they celebrate Santa or Jesus, all agree to give.
So, what does one give when the money tree has frozen over? Sometimes we need to go back to the simple things in life – the gifts you can’t put under a tree. Here’s some budget friendly ways to celebrate the season:
- Give of yourself. Volunteer! What? Do something for free? Why yes. Volunteer! Serve at a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, or a hospital…anything! Jesus moved in compassion. Why not take that beautiful smile and shining light of the Lord to someone who needs to see peace and hope?
- Go caroling! Warm up those pipes! Gather a few friends! And take a stroll through the neighborhood! Visit shut-ins! Take a group to the children’s unit at the hospital or the local senior center. Now, I know we live in Alaska and it’s COOOOLD out. But, each Halloween, kids line up the streets for free candy. Why not line the streets for a few songs of cheer? J
- Bake goodies! I know, in this day of Ipods, Iphones and Iwant, some may see it as old-fashioned but it is an awesome gift idea! A few years back, my husband, kids and I had a BLAST baking and decorating cookies. We took them over to our immediate neighbors and they LOVED them. One said, “I’ve lived here for” X amount of “years and no one has ever done this for me.” Food is the way to everyone’s heart! And I know some of you can make a sweet batch of cookies!
- Take in a Christmas program! Better yet – be an active participant in the program! You must know someone who’s church is having a play, program, or musical. Start a family tradition. Many years ago, the church we attended presented a wonderful singing Christmas tradition. Lights! Voices! Jesus! We moved out of the area and stopped attending each year. But, this year, it’s back on the holiday “must do” list. YEAH…For a few years, my husband has lead and directed the Christmas program at our current church home. It’s a lot of work! It takes a lot of time and commitment but mostly passion! And it’s all done to bless someone like you. Take it in!
- Make a gift! Sew it, quilt it, craft it, write it, color it or whatever it may be. Create a photo collage for someone. Decorate stockings for kids! Make a homemade baby doll…God gave you a desire to do something…do it! Visit the local resale shoppe – you will be surprised to find many “NEW and or gently used” items that someone else didn’t want that you can use to create a great gift. I love our local “Bishop’s Attic” store! I thank the Lord my momma taught me to be thrifty! God has blessed us many times at the Bishop’s!
- Last but not least: just enjoy time with your family and friends. Host a game night! Rather than having guests bring a gift, have them bring a game or some of those cookies they baked. Share a devotion of the true Christmas story. Share your own personal “favorite” Christmas stories! Read “The Night Before Christmas” and then read the “Real” Christmas story straight out of the Bible. Life is too precious to let moments slip by. Before the end of the gathering, sing “Silent Night” on your front lawn and say a prayer before everyone leaves.
Make a choice to stay out of the Christmas chaos and enjoy that heavenly peace that our Lord gives! Jesus is the reason for the season. Treasure the moment.