Maybe it's just me, but when I was a kid, I don't remember there being so much hoopla about shopping and "stuff" at Christmastime. I'm sure part of it had to do with my youth. The shopping part wasn't something I had to deal with firsthand, but I also am not naive enough to believe that it hasn't gotten exponentially worse as technology has become such a staple in our everyday lives.
Don't get me wrong, I go Black Friday shopping, but I don't DO Black Friday shopping. I don't believe in trampling over the Thanksgiving holiday just to save a few bucks on a toaster. I don't understand people throwing punches for the last blu-ray player or playing a five year old game of tug of war for a DVD that is $5 off. I know that there are a lot of people who don't celebrate Thanksgiving with their family until the weekend, but I am strongly against making someone else, who could have spent time with their family, work for my convenience. For stuff. (Hops off soapbox now)
Stuff that's going to be played with a few times and tossed to the side. Stuff that we have to find a place for, deal with, get sick of, and put on a garage sale.
So it got be thinking. What do I want my kids to remember about Christmas? What do I want them to pass down to their own kids? So I made a list. Enjoy and feel free to add some of your own.
1. In our house, Christmas is about Jesus first. The rest is secondary.
2. Family matters. Invest in them. They are all you have. At the end of the day, these relationships are the ones that count.
3. Friends are family you choose. Everything that applies to #2 applies to #3.
4. Slow down and appreciate the little things. Little things become the big things.
5. Traditions matter. Establish them, and make room for new ones. Traditions will hold a very special place full of memories in your mind when you get older.
8. Giving is far more rewarding than receiving. Don't get caught up in the hype of "stuff". Put thought into the gifts you give/make people.
9. Homemade gifts are usually some of the most treasured.
10. The stuff goes away. Relationships do not.
11. You will never have a perfect Christmas. But you WILL have moments of joy and happiness. Cherish them.
12. It's okay to say Merry Christmas to someone and have them say Happy Holidays back to you. Not everyone believes what we believe, but we will always respect other people's values and beliefs. You can learn a lot from people who don't believe the same things you do.
13. Cultivate and celebrate the wonder in little children.
14. Santa Claus may not be real as a person, but he's alive through the spirit he brings to the season. Don't ruin that for others.
15. You will never get everything you want. Be grateful for the things you are blessed to receive and always remember that somebody else sacrificed time and money to find what they thought would be a great gift for you. The cliche, "It's the thought that counts" really does apply here.
16. Slow down and listen to other people's stories. Even if you've heard them a hundred times. Ask questions. Really take the time to get to know people.
17. Giving to others is so important this time of year, but remember to carry that on throughout the whole year. Not just November and December.
18. Someone once told me a candle is a poor man's fireplace. Your decorations and gifts may never be lavish. It's all about perspective.
19. Smile often. To everyone you meet. Show grace where you can. The season may be all about hustle and bustle for some. Be the bigger person.
20. Classic Christmas music will make you happy. There's nothing like a little Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong to make a crappy day into a better one.
21. It's okay if the bottom of the Christmas tree looks too full. Some day it will look perfect.
22. You don't need to pack it all in at Christmastime. It's a lesson I learned a little late. Remember that less is more. People are more important than plans. Know when to scale back and keep things simple.
23. When you do go shopping, thank people. Look them in the eye. Let them know they matter.
24. You won't regret getting a real Christmas tree. I promise.
25. Above all, be grateful. Be thankful. Love others. Show up. Be present. Enjoy your family. And really remember why we celebrate Christmas.
When you let stuff lead your schedule, you will come out feeling deflated and exhausted, ready for December to be over and January to show up. When the focus is right where it should be, there is so much potential to make memories that will last for years and years. Choose to make people your priority instead of things. You truly will enjoy Christmas more if you keep these in mind.
What do you want your kids to remember about Christmas? I'd love to hear your ideas!