Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Christmas means. . .

With the holidays coming up, I am having a really rough time. For some reason, the holidays are really hard for me. We live near both sides of the family, not to mention ALL of my family lives within 45 minutes of us. Cris and I were raised very differently when it came to holiday traditions and are having a hard time blending our beliefs. Cris doesn't want our children to believe in Santa. He doesn't want our children to be lied to, besides Santa = Satan. It use to bug me, but I have learned to live with it. He has also never given me a Christmas present in four years, and four Christmas's. It was very hard for me, he believes Christmas is a time for Christ, not for gifts.
While I still believe we need to give gifts, my love language is TOTALLY gift giving, I have come to understand why he feels the way he does. I had an encounter with a family member of mine recently. The conversation went like this . . .

FM1 "What are you doing for Christmas?"
FM2 "I don't know, but I went Christmas shopping today!" said very excitedly because this was the first time in Years!
FM1 "Well, you couldn't have gotten too much, you only had $200 to spend"
FM2 "Actually, we did very well thank you. It's not like it is all about the gifts." Said started to get annoyed.
FM1 dropping/changing the subject "Well what are you getting for Grandma"
FM2 thinking 'she said that because she wants to know what I am doing for everyone else besides immediate family' "I don't know, we don't have money to get everyone something. I will probably make something for everyone."
END OF CONVERSATION (So I had thought)

Why can this person (FM1) take something and turn it into a competition, something horrible, instead of realizing the excitement in the voice of the other person(FM2).

The day went on and I got a call from my sister . . . the remainder of the conversation:

"I got a call from FM1 today, she asked what I wanted for Christmas, I told her and she said, oh that is nice, wanna hear this?"
FM1 then goes on to tell her that when we do sibling gifts we HAVE to spend AT LEAST 20 dollars because FM2 from above is just going to make everyone dumb paper gifts that she doesn't even do (meaning, once upon a time, a coupon book was given for tasks with FM 2, they weren't ALL completed, but some were). I can't believe she is so cheap, she can't even spend money on Christmas.

This really hurt. Because it was ALL about me. It made me realize, why Cris doesn't like the gift giving part of Christmas. It has turned into a competition between family, friends, and neighbors alike. Who got the biggest, best, most expensive gift. This is not what it has to be like. There is no focus on Christ or anything. Spend thousands of dollars, for what, to forget what you got by February. As the years have gone on, I can only remember a few, not even a handful of gifts that were given to me for Christmas. I know I can't remember Christ in it at all. So, I have come to a conclusion 1. Thank goodness my family never reads this. AND 2. I will be putting more Christ in this Christmas than EVER before.

Here is my plan, I wanna hear what you do or could do to better implement Christ into Christmas:
We will open P.J.'s on December 23 night
We will open "Christmas Presents" on Dec 24 morning and have family Christmas that day.
On Dec 25 we will have a morning centered around Christ. We will read scriptures, watch Christ centered movies, read the story of Christs birth, etc. In the afternoon, we will go to other family's homes and do the gift exchange, but not until AFTER we have a good focus on the Spirit that should be in our homes.

This is completely different than I thought my traditions would ever be. But for me, my family traditions are in need for a deep change. I will be the first, but I hope I am not the last, in creating lasting memories of a Christ Centered Christmas.


Mrs. Ellis said...

For us, Birthdays are about presents and celebrating the individual - Christmas is about our Savior and family. When our family is a little bigger and we are more established, we want to do a big family outing instead of presents - something that will bring us all closer together and create good memories. It's sad when the Holiday Season turns ugly and there isn't joy in giving to others. Personally, I think a homemade gift that you know thought went into is much better than an expensive gift. Good luck!

horrocks_love said...

Shane is the same way about Santa and everything. It is hard to think about sometimes but in the end will be better I think.

I am putting some ideas on my blog, because it was taking up too much space here! :)

Annie said...

Way to go, Callie! I hope we can follow your example... Neal and I are such suckers for presents. It would probably help to move gift giving out of the spotlight.

Stacy said...

Good luck and remember this is about what your family wants to do. Don't let others tell you it is wrong. I like to celibrate Christ's birth on his birthday in April even then is hard!:)

Melanie said...

I think that your plan is great! It will be a perfect way for you and Cris to start making your own traditions, even though I know you are sacrificing a lot. Good luck! I hope it works out, and that your family will lay off you a little.

Chelsy Hansen said...

Callie, You and your family is AMAZING! Good for you, It's really how Christmas should be! Reading this post has really made me think. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

While Christ should be the nucleus of Christmas, family should be the center. I applaud you for wanting to put Christ into your traditions. It sounds like you are striving to be excellent Jehovah Witnesses. I noticed you said you were glad that your family didn't read your blog. I can't help think what kind of Christian you are for complaining about them. What would they say if they did see this post. Isn't the whole part of being Christian trying to strive to be like him. I don't think Christ would rule out Santa Claus after all it is the wise men that brought Jesus the gifts they are the reason we celebrate with Santa. Who ever told you Santa = Satan wasn't thinking too clearly. The prophet of the LDS church is a good friend of ours even he had Santa come to his house for his children. Christmas is a magical time for children. While we shouldn't forget Christ during Christmas and he should be the focus of Christmas children need that magic in their lives. What will you do when your children are in school? Will your children be the children telling the rest of the class they are wrong there is no such thing as Santa, and will the teachers have to find other lessons when they have the class write letters to Santa or have Santa come during school. I agree Christ is the most important thing during the holiday season, but I prefer to put Christ in my life on a regular basis. Not just focus on Christ one morning out of the year so I can make my point. Christmas is the time of giving. Not just remembering Christ. No matter how materialistic it becomes Christ would want us to give.

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