Simplifying the holidays is always my intention each year, but it is a struggle to maintain peace. The season immediately kicks off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, thrusting me into consumer mode. I’ll bet I spent at least five hours over the past few days looking through websites for good deals and adding items to online shopping carts.
Thankfully, I didn’t completely succumb to the madness. The shopping carts are still full, and I only thoughtfully purchased two, small orders. Still, it has been enough to alert me to the fact that my priorities are already out of sync, and it’s not even December 1st.
Do you also feel that strong draw to buy your way to the perfect Christmas? My hang-up is that I want to give the people I love just the right gift(s) that express how much I truly know, love, and appreciate them. However, it becomes an all-consuming quest with an ever-looming deadline: December 25th.
At the same time, I want to do away with gifts all together! I keep trying to talk my husband into just buying a memorable experience for our family, and not bothering with all the wrapped packages under the tree. He’s not quite on board yet. And honestly, neither am I. I love my annual tradition of watching a classic Christmas movie while wrapping presents in beautifully coordinated wrapping paper.
The problem is, the holiday season so quickly becomes all about “things” instead of people. Hours spent searching online and in stores for that perfect gift or table decoration for the Christmas Tea only increases my stress, sucks up my time, and takes me away from what my heart truly longs for: the peace and joy Jesus’ birth brings to this sin-weary world.
A Holiday Resolution
Today, I am surrendering my need for finding the perfect gifts to the Perfect Gift, Jesus Christ. I’m acknowledging that I don’t need to be in control of “all the things” to make Christmas merry and bright. And, I’m choosing quality time with my family over shopping for their wish list items. (He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m giving that job to my husband this year.)
Instead of clinging to perfection and succumbing to consumerism, I’m choosing to live out the joy of generosity. This year, my kids and I are going to try out something similar to my “Be the Gift” birthday (which you can read about in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Random Acts of Kindness: 101 Stories of Compassion and Paying It Forward). In her post Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Tradition, Kim from Not Consumed shares some great ideas for how to bless others this holiday season by spreading Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACK). I had been trying to think of a way to help my kids focus more on others than themselves this holiday season, and this seems like an easy, fun, and thoughtful step in the right direction.
Advent Devotional Giveaway
What will you do to decrease stress and find peace and joy in the days leading up to Christmas? If you are looking for some reading material to help you on your journey, I recently released an Advent devotional on Amazon, Reflections on the Birth of Christ: Re-Discovering the Wonder in Luke 1 & 2. Be sure to grab a copy for yourself (and more as easy gift gifts for friends and family).
I’m praying for all of us today that, instead of compulsively buying presents this holiday season, we will simply be present—with the Lord and with our loved ones—and look for ways to be a blessing to those who need it most.