We No Longer Celebrate Christmas

Family at Christmas

Family at Christmas

What is Christmas?


 

In the Western world we recognize December 25th as Jesus Christ’s birthday. It is the day to celebrate His birth. We know that December 25th is not His actual birthday but exact records were not kept in those times. Christianity embraced December 25th as an answer to Pagan’s celebration of Winter solstice. You also know the story of Kris Kringle, aka Santa Claus. He travels the world in a split-second at the stroke of midnight on December 25th. He rides in a sleigh pulled by reindeer to deliver toys (or coal) to all the children of the world. There are several folk-lore stories brought together into the story of Santa. This is Christmas.

 

Commercialization

 

Over the years Christmas became more about giving and getting gifts. And less about remembering Jesus’ birth. How much time do people, especially Christians, spend shopping and buying presents? All the while, celebrating the idea of Santa? What about the time spent acknowledging and celebrating Jesus? I’ll offer an unscientific but educated guess. The time spent on Santa is far greater than the time spent on Jesus. Christmas is now a celebration of office parties and family reunions. It’s about shopping for that right gift for the gift exchange. It’s the time of year where most retailers operate in the black. It’s not so much to cebrate Jesus’s birth anymore.

 

Our Tradition

 

When we got married we adopted and created family traditions. One was from my wife’s family. We would read the story of Jesus’ birth Christmas Eve night. And we created one of our own. Unbeknownst to the children we would get a real tree on Christmas Eve. We would put it up and decorate it at night after the children were asleep. When the children woke up on Christmas morning they would see the tree all decorated. And presents under it. It was truly special hearing them get all excited. Then come running to our room to exclaim Santa had come AND brought a tree.

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 

We love the holiday cheer that comes this time of year. It is nice to see smiles on people’s faces as we go about running errands. We have Christmas music playing in our home through the season. We still engage in festivities surrounding Christmas, such as the parties and reunions. But we no longer celebrate the gift exchange on Christmas morning with our children. We have chosen to celebrate Jesus’ birth only and give Him 100% of our attention on December 25th. We are no longer distracted by the commercialization and “gift getting”. Because, after all, it is the most wonderful time of the year. We recognize that our savior was born.

 

New Tradition

 

It was not an easy decision. I did not want my children to feel left out of the Christmas Santa Claus tradition. I did not want them to be envious of their friends and peers who were getting presents. I do want them to understand that Jesus’ birth is more important than that thing that someone bought them.

 

Yet, I am not a complete grinch. We still put up the tree on Christmas Eve, now involving the older children. After contemplating how to remove commercialization from Jesus’ birthday, I found a solution. New Year’s New Stuff. What that means is instead of opening presents on Christmas, we open them on New Year’s. Right after the countdown. The anticipation of the end of the year and opening presents at 12:01 am is more fun than on Christmas morning. The children appreciate that we focus on Jesus on December 25th. And have embraced the idea of “New Year’s New Stuff”.

 

No New Year’s Resolutions!

Boz Was Here
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First, let me wish you a Merry New Year! We welcomed in the New Year on I84 just inside the New York side of the New York/Connecticut border. We were on our way back up to Canada to visit with family. We got a late start in the evening, and were physically in our car…that is, minivan…on the highway headed West as 2008 rolled in. The kids had fallen asleep, and as we approached the last minute of 2007 we shouted back for them to wake up. Then…then final 10 seconds came, and as the last second turned over, we shouted “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”, and honked the horn as we drove by a rest stop that had about 40 parked semi’s. Then I looked back through my rear view mirror, turned on the dome light to find the kids were still sound asleep! We shouted again…”HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY NEW YEAR!” There was NO waking them. Funny how when you actually want them to stay asleep, they wake up; and when you want to wake them, it’s almost impossible. Well…Amie and I enjoyed rocking out to U2’s New Year’s Day as the first song of the year, a tradition most rock stations hold. It’s really not a bad way to welcome in the year. I was on a Grey Hound bus, somewhere in Montana for New Year’s in 1992. But that’s another story.   

Now, on to business. You read the title right! NO New Year’s Resolutions for me. I have not made a “New Year’s Resolution” since I was 15 or so. The very last New Year resolution I made was for New Year’s 1986. That year, I made the resolution to never make another New Year resolution! I had quite the wit back then! And to be honest, that resolution hasn’t been hard to keep. Who needs empty promises to ones self? Face it…people make resolutions to specifically break them. Have you ever thought, “Hmm…how long will I go this year before I break my resolution”? Of course you have. I would venture to say that everyone that makes a resolution, also asks themselves that question. As a matter of fact, I may have wondered if I would ever break mine! That was actually a sarcastic remark. I’ve never wondered if I would break it!

Let me ask, do you do this as a game with yourself? Do you take odds, place bets, keep score? Why make a resolution you know you won’t keep? Why not say it honestly? Here’s what I would recommend, and since it is still the first day of the year, maybe January 2 by the time some of you read this, there is still time to revise your resolution.

Try these:

  • “I resolve to eat right for two weeks”. (Don’t say “lose weight” because you are really setting yourself up for failure. And it takes at least four to six weeks to see any loss in weight from eating a proper diet and exercising. So, keep it real. )
  • “I resolve to stop smoking for 9 days”. (Don’t say “quit smoking”, because no one like a quitter! Yes, that was more of my sarcastic wit. But it makes sense, right? And we know you can’t stop for good…so make it easy! That way you can actually say you kept your resolution to quit smoking!)
  • “I resolve to abstain from road rage for 1 day”. (Let’s be realistic…if you are a “roadrager” (new word) you can’t help yourself. You enjoy shouting at other drivers that can’t hear you. You find it so empowering you can’t go more than one day, so don’t torture yourself!)
  • “I resolve to save $X in January “. Replace X with something attainable, because January is the “brokest” (new word) month of the year! (Face it, once you see you have extra cash, you’re going to spend it. You just can’t save all year. So, be honest with yourself, and you won’t feel guilty.)

Hope that helps! What we will cover, in my Profit Margin Blog, is Goal Setting. Different from “Resolutions“, When you set goals, you set mini miles stones, as well as huge milestones, that help you measure your accomplishments. Click on over and subscribe.

And for those of you following along from my last blog post here, I still have Jezebel. After careful analysis, her life is not yet over. She has her good days, and bad days. There are difficult moments, but not anything we can’t handle. Right now, the good days outweigh the bad. Until that balance is flipped, she will remain with us. I feel selfish about it, but I don’t see a reason to force that inevitable moment.

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