A Meaningful Holiday

Do you find yourself stressing about getting everything done for the holidays and finding enough money for all the gifts? I’m already finding myself stressed about finishing decorating the house, sure I want to go ahead and get it done but it’s not worth stress. And I only have a few gifts so far but I keep reminding myself that there is still plenty of time.

Last Christmas was spent mostly in bed as I was very sick. I’m working very hard to keep that from happening and it also has me wanting to enjoy as much of the season as possible. I still got the same number of gifts last year even though I was sick, that’s not what I missed, it was the time with my loved ones.

While I’m not suggesting anyone stop giving gifts at all, I am suggesting we rethink how many we give and what kind of gifts. Homemade gifts with meaning, Fair Trade gifts that give back to struggling communities, and donations as gifts can all be gifts that have a lot more meaning. Many years my family has done something fun together around the holidays in place of some gifts. One year we went to a Flaming Lips concert, a couple of years ago we went to a Thunder basketball game. I remember those trips far more than I remember what gifts I got. And my favorite thing on Christmas is going to my parents house in the morning and having waffles and mimosas. That is what I was the most upset about missing last year, we just postponed it but it was pretty sad to not go on Christmas day.

I have shared this video the last couple of years but it is very good so I’m going to share it again. It’s religious but the meaning goes past religion and I’m sure all of us can gain from it.

It’s pretty amazing to think about what we could do with even a small percent of the money we spend on Christmas. The number of people we could help is amazing. Those of us in the US and other developed countries are quite lucky but that doesn’t mean there isn’t poverty all around us. In my small town 32.4% live below the poverty line! Shocking isn’t it? It sure makes me rethink the holidays. Here are just a few ideas of ways we can make our holidays more meaningful.

Watch Your Favorite Christmas Movie Together
My family has watched It’s A Wonderful Life for as long as I can remember. I think we all know every word. My husband and I also watch a few Christmas movies through the season. We always watch a Harry Potter movie when we put up the Christmas tree, which isn’t really a Christmas movie but most of the movies have Christmas in them. We also put up the tree right after Halloween so I guess it’s fitting, ha. One that I watched for the first time this year that was really cute is Arthur Christmas.

Bake Together
I love to bake and try to bake a lot during the holidays. I always bake some gingerbread cookies and if I go to parties I almost always take some kind of baked good. Decorating cookies together can be a fun family activity that doesn’t cost much money and you don’t need to be very creative for this craft since you are just going to eat them.

Make Decorations
Kids and adults can have fun making decorations. With Pinterest you can find all kinds of ideas! I will also be posting ideas on here.

Give Back
There are so many ways to give back to your community during the holidays. “Adopt” an angel off of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, take toys to a toy drive, make toys and blankets for animals at a local animal shelter, volunteer at a soup kitchen, offer to clean an elderly neighbor or family member’s home, offer to put up a elderly or disabled neighbors Christmas lights or tree, the ideas are endless.

Have a Handmade Christmas
Make a rule that at least one gift for each person has to be handmade. This can mean either by the person or from a store like Etsy. It can be fun to see whatever one comes up with. I try and do as much of my shopping as possible from stores like Etsy and also from handmade Fair Trade goods that help those that are making the items.

Look at Lights
One of my favorite things to do is make some hot chocolate or pick up some from a local coffee shop and drive around and look at Christmas lights. You can also check to see if any nearby towns have any really big displays. The town of Chickasha Oklahoma has a HUGE display at their park each year. I went several years ago and it was pretty awesome, so look for big displays near you.

There are many other fun things you can do as a family or with friends over the holidays, have a party and have a White Elephant exchange, play games, do a puzzle, host a cookie exchange or decorating party, whatever you and your loved ones enjoy doing. These memories are far more special than any gift.

Are you trying to have a more meaningful holiday this year? Have you started any holiday traditions? Will you be starting new ones this year? Share below or on the Facebook page.

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  1. says

    This is my goal as well. We have many nieces and nephews and for years I’ve suggested doing a Secret Santa swap or ‘adopt a family’ instead of the plethora of stuff they don’t really need but no one goes for it. Maybe someday!

  2. says

    Lisa, I’m a big supporter of the idea behind Advent Conspiracy. Sooooo many well-meaning people give (and expect) gives they don’t want and don’t need. This year I encourage people to give items that are truly needed to the people who really do need them. And then give the gift of presence to those who are near and dear.

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