What Does Christmas Mean to You?

What does Christmas mean to you? Think about that and let me tell you my story...

" The world spends and estimate of $280 BILLION on Christmas every year. It would only take $20 Billion to end the worlds clean water problem." 

{We focus on buying gifts people don't want, will return, don't appreciate, or break instead of the  Real Reason for the Season. }

 I noticed my young children had so many presents to open. They would just tear through one and fly to the next. The toys would be broken within a matter of days. But to them, it was okay because they had another new toy they could play with. It shouldn't be like that. I wanted them to be appreciative of everything they received, even if they didn't like it.  

So we would buy them three gifts that represent Jesus' gifts- Gold, Incense( frankincense), and Myrrh. But, recently I've stuck to this motto:

1. Something they Want: that awesome toy they've been wanting
2. Something they Need: the chainsaw dad needs

3. Something to Wear: I don't like giving clothing/outfits. This is more like really good hats, gloves, socks,etc...

4. Something to Read: Book series, magazine subscription, educational book they have been wanting. 

*Everything they get is something they have wanted or needed. It's not like I just pick thing out what I want to get them. ~ Giving with the persons tastes in mind.

When I first thought about doing this I worried that I would be depriving my kids the extravagant, "magic" of Christmas. But I will say, they have learned to not be so needy or greedy focused on giving to others more than receiving, and they know the REAL reason for CHRISTmas! We focus on doing activities everyday to keep the season about Jesus.

What Does Christmas mean to Me? It means celebrating our Saviors birth.  God gave his Son to us. What are we going to give back? What would God want us to do? Consumerism has taken over Christmas. And I want to step back and not be taken in by it. Gift giving has gotten out of control. I don't want or need "things". I want to teach my kids the same thing. I do want them to give gifts from their heart, which doesn't have to mean buying something from a store. And when we do buy a gift, I want it to also help that ministry or person from whom we are buying.

Ideas for a Gift Giving:

1. Gift of Self- Take someone out to dinner, to the movies, to the park, host a dinner party for them, help around their house, bake with them, ...anything that give them time with you. 

2. Gift of Experience- Membership to zoo or museum, movie card, gift certificate for rock climbing class, pottery class, paintball, laser tag, painting, Motorsports driving experience.

3. Gift of Subscriptions- magazines or Little Passports( for kids)

4. Gift of Food- Basket of homemade specialty foods, whole foods, farmers market vegetables, Sams or Costco card, grocery store gift card.

5. Gift of Health and Wellness- gift card to a gym, the YMCA, Recreation center, yoga classes

6. Gift of Learning- musical instruments or lessons, books, nature products

7. Gift that Gives Back- Give a gift that gives back. Better Life Bags, Toms, Books out of Africa T-shirt, Feed projects, Mercy House

8. Gift of Giving- Compassion International, Mercy House, Women for Women, St. Jude donation on your behalf. 

I truly believe that you can give a person(especially a child) all the money and expensive gifts in the world, but their favorite gift will be the time and experience they had with you! 

{We focus our time together decorating our Jesus Tree throughout the month of December}

We do fun things as a family like : 

 go to movies

 look at Christmas lights 

read Christmas books

go ice skating

go to see the Zoo lights

Shelby Farms Starry Nights

have a Movie Party at home with crafts and foods theme 

deliver cookies and candies  to friends and family 

Watch Singing Christmas Tree program