It happens every year… I know… but the sting has never softened. There’s just something so wrong about seeing ghosts and goblins next to Frosty and Rudolph.
Surrounded by messages, telling me to “BUY! BUY! BUY!” all year long, I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of an over-commercialized Christmas.
In fact, when my daughter was only two-years-old, I’d completely rationalized spending over $500 on a child-sized kitchen set from Pottery Barn Kids.
She’d never even expressed an interest in it; I just thought she’d like to have it.
Trying to get my husband to agree to the purchase, I told him…
It’s much taller and sturdier than the plastic sets. Plus it’s RED, meaning Frank can play with it too!
It wasn’t until I mentioned having a 20% off coupon, some Rewards certificates, and an offer for FREE shipping that he finally caved.
With family in from out-of-town, we spent Christmas Eve assembling the set (which was a ton of fun!) but we were severely disappointed when Harper was only mildly excited to receive her present the following morning.
That was the year I realized just how EASY it is to make a child’s Christmas all about gifts, and less about The Lord.
Growing up in a home that was not rooted in faith, gifts were the main way my parents expressed their love for my sister and I, but their attempts at affection were overlooked because our presents were labeled, “From, Santa.”
Recognizing the need to break the cycle of love manifesting itself in the form of material possessions, I searched for ideas that would help me minimize the number of gifts my children would receive each year.
I tried the “3 Gifts… Just Like Jesus” and “Something You Want; Something You Need; Something You Wear; Something You Read” ideas, but they felt a bit too limiting.
Trying something new this year (see #3 below), the following are some additional ways my family is finding its way back to Jesus this year.
- Tell the story. Growing up in the absence faith, sharing the story of Jesus’ birth with my children has always seemed a bit intimidating; these awesome videos have made all the difference in the world.
- Ditch The Elf. This wildly popular “tradition” is just another reason children become anxious around the holidays, thinking someone is “watching” their every move… but there’s a better way to play with that silly little elf.
- Give Santa the night off. With two extremely observant children asking endless questions about our lack of a chimney, this awesome experiment has alleviated almost all of their concerns.
Please share the faith-based traditions you and your family participate in during the holidays!
Want more ways to enjoy the Truth this holiday season?
- Consider Jesus’ perspective on Santa.
- Reconsider forcing children to sit on Santa’s lap.
- Help your children experience what Jesus meant when he said, “It’s better to give than to receive” all year long (not just during the holidays).
Beth Nowak is a believer, dreamer, wife and mother, former Kindergarten teacher, and founder of GivingFamilies.com where she helps parents and children (ages 4+) “make memories while making a difference.” She’s also a mental health activist, TEDx presenter and inspirational speaker promoting civic engagement as a holistic approach to healing. For more information on the many topics she presents on, please click here.