I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Since we are in the midst of the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what this time of year means to me and my family. Unfortunately, the holidays have become so commercialized and the reason for the season has become lost in many households. It is so easy to become focused on the gifts and the events and lose sight of why we celebrate in the first place. In our home, Jesus is the reason for the season and comes first. We also have fun with Santa, Elf of the Shelf, baking, shopping and all of the other festivities that come along with this time of year. However, our focus is on the birth of Christ and we stress giving versus receiving. This can be a challenge in a world that focuses more on what we have versus who we are.
My kids are well taken care of and there is not shortage of toys in our home, but we do not make that the focus of Christmas. We do not have a tree overflowing with gifts and we make a conscience effort to not be overcommitted during this busy time of year. We use this holiday season to create memories and experiences that will last a lifetime, which is much more important than any gift. We also focus on talking about all that God has blessed us with and the miraculous event that took place in a manger many years ago. These are the things we want our kids to remember and cherish. Let’s face it, twenty years from now they are not going to reflect on the presents they did or did not receive. They are going to reflect on the memories and the time spent together.
The very first decoration that we put up each year is our nativity set. We take the time to talk about the night that baby Jesus was born and the importance that each individual played. This year, after we put the nativity set up, I caught my son praying in front of the set. My heart was filled with warmth and I was so proud to know that our message and focus on the season is trickling down to the next generation.
When you ask my children what they are looking forward to this season, they focus on the memories and traditions that we have, which makes me very happy as a parent. We have several holiday activities that we do on a consistent basis each year. Some of our favorites are heading to Saint Augustine to see the amazing light display, watching Polar Express as a family while sipping on hot chocolate, reading a new story each night and making my famous pfeffernusse cookies. These are the things that the kids talk about year after year and the things that bring us so much joy during the holiday season.
This year, instead of stressing yourself out to get every single gift on your shopping list and attending every single party and event that you are invited to, focus on the reason for the season. Spend time talking about why we celebrate, be it Christmas or Hanukkah. Create some family traditions and spend quality time with each other. Focus more on giving to others rather than receiving. Take the time to really be in the moment and enjoy everyone and everything around you. These are the things that should be the focus during this holiday season and are the activities that will create lifelong memories and well rounded individuals.
What memories or activities do you have on the agenda this year that focus on the reason for the season?