Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting The Most Out of Christmas

I thought that I would continue my Christmas series with a post about getting more meaning out of Christmas. I have previously written about Ideas For a Cheaper And More Meaningful Christmas and Charity And Christmas. In all the hustle and bustle we sometimes get our priorities mixed up and we lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas.

Enjoy your family traditions. Are there some traditions that you had as a kid that you really enjoyed? Maybe it is time to bring them back. If you don’t have any traditions from your childhood, maybe you could start some new ones. It is the traditions that you and your kids will remember. I have a friend in Dallas whose family always made tons of tamales at Christmas.

Involve others in your holiday plans. When I was going to the university and was living away from most of my family, I was always invited to spend Christmas with friends. Maybe you have a friend or co-worker that doesn’t have any holiday plans and they would be thrilled to be part of yours.

Get your children’s focus away from all those things that they want for Christmas. Many parents have heard their kids begging and pleading for this or that toy for Christmas. Now would be a good time to get them to focus on what they’re going to give others instead of what they’re going to get. You could also involve them in one of the charity drives this time of year or maybe work in a soup kitchen with them (see my post on Charity And Christmas for more ideas).

Learn about Christmas traditions around the world. Most of us are familiar with the Christmas traditions from where we grew up, but can fun to learn about people in other countries celebrate Christmas. Since I’m American, my wife is German, and we’re trying to raise our kids with both cultures, it does present some challenges when the Christmas traditions are different. Maybe you have a relative or friend that comes from the “old country” and they can tell you about how they celebrated Christmas as a kid.

Bring Jesus back into Christmas. There are some Christian denominations that would say that Christmas is a pagan holiday and they don’t celebrate it or they keep their celebrations to a minimum. Here is an article Ways of Keeping Christ in Christmas. Here are some Christmas bible verses.

Separated and broken families bring new challenges to celebrating Christmas but it shouldn’t break your spirit. As a kid one set of my grandparent lived over 1,000 miles away so we didn’t often spend Christmas with them, but there are many families that go to great lengths to celebrate with both sets of grandparents. When you factor in the number of children that come from divorced families, it makes celebrating Christmas that much more of a challenge. While the actual calendar day that you have celebrated Christmas in the past might not coincide with when you have the kids, you’ll want to treat the time that you have the kids as though it is, or treat it as an alternative Christmas. You’ll want to make the best of the situation that you have, be creative, and have fun, You do not need to have a perfect Christmas, so don’t stress yourself out. Here is article that I found on divorced dads handling Christmas. I didn’t happen to run across and good articles on Christmas and the single mom celebrating Christmas, but Momsrefuge is a handy resource for working moms (and even non-working moms).

Sing some Christmas carols. Our girls are at an age that they love to sing. I went for a walk with them the other day and we sang 3 Christmas carols the whole way. I guess that I need to look up the text to more songs! Maybe you could organize a caroling event at a senior center or for some shut-ins.

Watch It’s a Wonderful Life, this time of year you can almost certainly find it on television somewhere. I also enjoy some of the old Christmas specials from when I was a kid like Rudolf the Red Nosed Raindeer, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, and so on. Miracle on 34th Street with Natalie Wood is another holiday film that I enjoy. There are several good ones out there so maybe you can enjoy one today.

I hope that you’ll do some of these things start getting more out of Christmas. Happy Holidays.
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