Ingrid Schlueter writes on her blog, The Hope Blog:
Here are my unvarnished views about Christmas stress. Many of us have created a holiday monster in our homes over the years–I am the first to admit this. If our children have unrealistic and expensive expectations at Christmas, it’s our own fault. Most of us have helped do this to our kids. Here’s my list of things this season to keep stress down.
1. Every year we yammer about keeping Christ in Christmas. How about we just do it? My favorite memory last year was (for once) an uninterrupted family time of talking about the Lord and His coming–my husband leading the discussion with us. We sang Christmas carols, and read the Bible’s account. It was impromptu, and everyone participated for a change with the kids involved. That was the best time of all.
2. If your children are old enough to grasp this, tell them plainly that times are tough and that the family is cutting back in gift giving for the sake of being a wise steward of funds. Parents today try to shield children from every reality imaginable and sometimes, I don’t think we’re doing them a favor. While children don’t need to be made to worry, they should also know that sometimes families don’t have the money to or don’t choose to spend their money on an orgy of gift giving. A good way to broaden our spoiled children’s perspectives is to get the newsletter, the e-version or the print version, from Voice of the Martyrs. Hearing about the suffering of other believers is a good antidote to materialism and greed. Encouraging children to give from what they have to causes like this is a valuable experience.
The rest of this post can be found here.
I personally found this post convicting. In my home, my wife and I have been rushing to and fro trying to please the people we know. From our daughter to our respective families, everyone expects something of us. It’s gotten to the point where we feel that if we don’t buy expensive presents, we’ll be frowned upon and judged to be selfish with our money. Money is tight, but even so we feel the unrelenting pressure from within our family and without to spend beyond our means – not to glorify Christ in His birth, but because we have been conditioned since childhood that Christmas is about what is under the wrapping paper.
In my home, I will not allow this to be the case. I am determined to make my family’s first Christmas about the birth of Jesus Christ. Nothing else in this world will matter on that day.