Wondering how to make Christmas less commercial this year? Join the multitude of folks who enjoy celebrating Christmas either as a religious feast or a civil holiday but agree that the commercialism is out of control. Whether you are a practicing Christian who dislikes all the distraction that commercialism introduces into your religious celebration or you are not especially religious but just don’t like the “in your face” buying and selling that takes center stage at Christmas,you can make Christmas less commercial this year. Try a few of these suggestions for taking the stuff out of Christmas and share how to make Christmas less commercial with neighbors and friends. It’s one thing many people can agree on.
If you are really serious about reducing commercialism in Christmas this year you might want to begin by taking these two steps:
First, rethink and estimate how much time and money you spent last year on Christmas. Include gifts, cards, wrapping paper, and the time spent on purchasing and preparing the stuff you purchased. Try to come up with some type or ball park figure to give you a place from which to start your alteration of Christmas in the coming year.
Second, with your family review what Christmas should means, what you would like it to mean this year. Make sure everyone understands that you are not opting to take the fun or the enjoyment out of Christmas, you are just trying to approach it differently..
With these ideas in mind you can advance to a solution for how to make Christmas less commercial this year that fits your family and its values.
If your family discussion reveals that you want a spiritual center to your Christmas, then its time to refocus your pre-Christmas activities. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up presents or Santa or a wonderful Christmas Tree. It does mean centering your attention, your care and your time on something, which for you is much more important: celebrating the birth of Jesus.
A good approach is to take out your family calendar and lock in time throughout the post Thanksgiving season to shop, send cards and decorate. But here’s the catch – don’t fill every available space with those kinds of activities. It’s too easy at Christmas time to just keep shopping and buying until you either run out of money or time or both. Have a plan. Determine to spend a certain, limited number of hours to do a few Christmas essentials. You can help to keep yourself on that schedule if you fill the rest of the time with what you consider to be the true meaning of Christmas.
For example take your family to a Christmas concert or play. It needn’t be a event with a huge ticket price. Discover the wonderful world of college concerts. They are far less expensive, you can sit close to the action, you can chose from among the offerings of those nearby and match them to your own personal tastes. The extra throw in, is that you will spend some time on a college campus with your kids. Not only might it put college in their brains but it is usually a place filled with a joyous feeling around the holidays.
Lock in time to go to church services at your own church but visit churches in neighboring communities and enjoy the special Christmas events they have to offer. Using the Internet makes it easy to check out events scheduled in churches near you. Christmas plays, concerts and worship services will fill you with the meaning of the season, cost you next to nothing and immerse you in a spiritual environment quite unlike the one you will find at the nearest mall.
If your family discussion shows that you see Christmas as more of a civil holiday, then you can proceed as above in terms of limiting time for shopping, decorating and the like. Fill your time instead according to your family values. Chose spiritual activities that match your values but then lock in lots of time to do other family centered activities.
For example start a few holiday traditions, things you have never done before and use them to replace last years hours of shopping and buying. Put on your calendar time to share on an old fashioned sleigh ride, go ice skating together as a family, hold your own snow sculpting event or snow ball battle. It might sound corny but kids at many ages love the relaxation that comes from dimming the lights, spreading out blankets on the floor and listening to a family member read from a Christmas book. Try old favorites like Dickens’ Christmas Carol or O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi or look to the special interests and age level of your kids to come up with other choices.
Instead of buying so many gifts, give the gift of time to one another. Bake those cookies, build that gingerbread house, sing some Christmas music together, decorate with home fashioned decorations, invite friends in for simple snacks, share memories from the year gone by, put some time into improving Christmas for the less fortunate who are all around you. Recapture the meaning of Christmas for yourself and your family
It’s not impossible to do just plan to fill your time with things worthy of you and your kids. Christmas doesn’t have to be a circus which leaves you exhausted, frustrated and never quite satisfied. This year doesn’t have to be like all the others. Build your best Christmas by reducing your gift buying time to a bare minimum and then using the freed up time and money to enjoy being a family.