As I witness the swirling bustle of crowds in the shopping centers as people merrily going about their way buying gifts for their loved ones I can't help but think what a joyous time of year this is for so many, and on the same note, I know there are so many who find this time of year depressing and look upon it as the worst time of the year.
I want to present to you what a true Christmas is. It is not about the gifts. REPEAT. It is NOT about the gifts. It is celebrating the day of the Savior who has come into the world to forgive man of his sins and so that he may escape the fiery flames of hell for those who believe in Him and confess Him as their Lord.
So many parents feel guilty that they will not be able to provide gifts this year.
I say DON'T FEEL GUILTY.
But instead realize what you HAVE given your children. You have helped to give them life. You have given them yourself as a loving and available parent. You have given them a warm home and three meals a day all year round not just one day of the year, not just when the world dictates a day of giving.You give them clothing and an education.
And remember that the ultimate gift you can give your children is the gift of salvation by teaching them about the Lord--this is a gift that will last for eternity.
And of course, any good parent will still want try to provide gifts for their children. Consider looking around your home for gifts you might not notice. Is there extra fabric you can give to a daughter for a sewing project as a gift? For a younger daughter, if you had extra material maybe you could sew doll accessories, doll bedding, doll dresses, doll purses? A small baby doll for her doll?
During the Great Depression, mothers made use at Christmas time anything they had available to make gifts for their children. They would use large printed flour sacks to make pretty dresses and would even find old skirts they could not wear anymore and make a smaller skirt of the material for a daughter. Nothing went to waste. Children appreciated what they got back then and did not complain because they understood the times.
Just because the people back then had less, they actually had so much more.They appreciated each other and the simple things that were given to them. They did not live from one materialistic venture to the next. Family was important to them and just enjoying the simple things in life. They were excited to receive an orange and a quarter as a gift, and that was it. The Great Depression had given them the priceless gift of gratitude. I sometimes wonder how better off our generation would be if they learned the same gratitude as this past generation. This is why I feel it is so important to keep to focus not on getting gifts and Christmas (even though we do share gifts), but on serving. There are so many ways to do this as I have shared in the past.
But back to gift giving, if you have an older daughter, what if you gave her an heirloom piece of jewelry from you or her grandmother that you have been holding on to? Little boys could get homemade play dough or homemade puppets from socks. Older sons might like a documented scrapbook made of photos of himself as a keepsake, or something they have been eying that belongs to Dad. Children could share their art with each other. You could write a special letter telling someone what they mean to you and frame it with a picture of you both as a meaningful gift. These are all things you could do with what you already have at home and would not cost anything. Here is also a great site loaded with ideas.
In our home, our children like all the special things we like to do before Christmas. Drinking cocoa, playing in the snow, watching Christmas movies, opening the Advent calendar as we count down the days, coloring Christmas pictures, making crafts, singing carols, making ornaments, visiting with friends and family, baking for others, acting in Christmas plays and dressing up as nativity characters. We find ways to serve and give to others who are in need. We spend time with eachother which is important instead of throwing a few gifts at eachother and going our separate ways. All of this usually doesn't cost a lot of money but is rich in memories, and isn't that what memory making is all about?
All in all, be sure to keep your focus on Christ and others. Don't let advertisers dictate to you what your Christmas should look like but keep it simple and Christ focused. I truly hope all of you have a meaningful Christmas and are able to focus upon the true celebration and what it is all about!