I was lying in bed last night thinking about Christmas. On Saturday our family - the kids, their spouses, John and I, celebrated Christmas together. It was a fabulous day filled with food, fun, gifts, games and laughter. It couldn’t have been a better day. Even the days leading up to Christmas were good. Well, not the day I had the kidney stone, but the rest of them, were fairly stress free. It could have been the drugs, of course, but once I determined I wasn’t going to get it all done, I quit trying to be super-woman and enjoy the season. My cards have yet to go out, but they will. I didn’t get gifts to everyone I wanted to, but I will. Due to some ill-timed consumption of caffeine last night, I had plenty of time to lie in bed and think about ways to do Christmas differently.
Doing Christmas differently has been on my heart for years. I always seem to get crazy in December, and why? I mean is that what God had in mind when He sent his Son to earth? I don’t think so. But, I’m a traditionalist and it’s hard for me to change something as huge as Christmas. Last year we changed how we give gifts within our family. Less wrapped gifts and things like gift cards in the stockings made for a FAR easier time of shopping and wrapping. And, no one died from the shock. But, because I love Christmas so much I always want to do more. I have friends to whom I love to give gifts. And then there are neighbors that I love to bless at Christmas, and people I work with that I love. But my intentions and my time don’t always come out evenly.
So, as I was thinking the other night, here is what came to mind. I need to radically change the way I do things. Where is it written that we can only give gifts at Christmas? What if, instead of taking pumpkin bread or fudge to the neighbors in December, I gave it to them in March? Does it not taste just as good then? In fact, wouldn’t it be more fun to have them all in for tea and send each person home with a loaf of bread? And, wouldn’t Feed My Starving Children (or any charity for that matter) appreciate my help just as much in September as in December? I know the food shelf is desperately in need of food in the summer so why not give then instead of at Christmas? Why do we, as Americans, suddenly become so benevolent in December? Is it to make up for our lack during the rest of the year? I say, let’s change things up!
My new plan is to do Christmas all year. I’m making this public so I’ll be sure to follow through on my plan. And, I want to invite you to join me. Every month I will tell you what it is I’m doing “for Christmas.” Some of what I do will be in preparation for December. My goal this year is to be done with all major Christmas stuff by December 1. That way I can actually enjoy the Christmas season - the parties, the lights, the music, and even the television specials. Plus, it will eliminate last minute panic caused by snowstorms and kidney stones. The other thing I’m going to do is re-think how I do gifts for friends. I’ll let you know about that as 2009 progresses.
This blog is getting long but I want to give you some ideas to start you thinking about next year. One of the things I liked best about our Christmas this year was the creative gifts our kids gave. Paul and Erin, knowing that I love to write, gave me some books specifically designed for writers. It showed some real thought to come up with such a creative idea and I loved the thought as much as the books. We got a most interesting gift from Adam and Heidi. They gave us a goat and two chickens! Well, we actually got plastic figurines of said goat and chickens (phew!) and the real animals went to a needy family in another country. The figurines are to remind us to pray for that family who will now have access to goat milk and eggs, which will provide not only food, but additional income. Both of those gifts were a huge blessing to me!
So put your thinking cap on and join me in 2009 as I “do Christmas differently.” Feel free to share your ideas with me, too!