I have never been more convicted about the holidays until these past couple of years. Now that the boys are older, I realize how disgustingly materialistic our culture is, and how it has crept into the hearts of my sons and cultivated greed. They hear us say that "It's about Jesus's birth" but in the end, it's about the presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Now, I LOVE the excitement of Christmas morning!! It is so much fun to see the kids race to the tree and squeal with delight. Every good parent loves giving good things to their children, right?
But, what if we gave them a "small" token after a "large" time of giving? What if the prize at the end was just that, a prize for giving time and effort to blessing others? Not that they "earn" it, but they "receive" a gift just as everyone they had given gifts to?
Okay, so I am typing as I'm thinking, so it may sound gibberish...but this year, our family is doing away with the big Christmas (well, we can't stop grandparents, and extended family...they love to give to the boys and I would never take that away). We are going to implement:
The 12 Days of Giving
Starting on December 12th, we are going to sit as a family each night and make gifts for the designated person/people/charity. I have already sketched out each person and charity we want to bless, and the kids will get to shop for the materials, and even decide what to make. On Christmas Eve, our final gift will be one to Jesus, we will talk about the fruits of the Spirit, what we want to "give" Him this next year... (kinda like New Year's resolution, Jesus style). And on Christmas morning, the boys will receive, just as everyone before them had. After all, one of our family values is: "I am third"- God, Others, then me.
We've already started talking to them about it, and they seemed to get it...we've emphasized "It is a bigger blessing to give than to receive". We also shared with them that the reason gifts came about on Christmas is because we are celebrating the "birthday" of Jesus, our BEST present from God. They are excited to jumpstart this season with Operation Christmas Child this week! I am so looking forward to the holidays now! :)
Do you have any fun and meaningful ways to celebrate the holidays without giving into consumerism?