about me · faith · finances · holidays · Merry Christmas · parenting · simplicity

Christmas This Year

Last year I wrote a few posts about my desire to have a perfect Christmas (and the requisite honest follow up). Obviously, that did not come to fruition, because nothing in this life is perfect.

I scaled back my expectations (for myself) this year.

Interestingly, there have been a number of blogs out there discussing not doing Christmas. Rather, these families have decided either not to buy presents for their children or to spend their entire holiday serving others in some way. There are also others than are limiting Christmas gifts in light of their (sudden?) realization that America is grossly commercialized and greedy. Then there are those that liken Santa to Satan (see! same letters! oops, I meant “santa” but typed “satan” ha ha ha!) and think allowing children some childhood magic is akin to abuse. (obviously I am not talking about people with rational reasons to explain St. Nicholas instead of Santa Claus or people who don’t judge those who “believe” in Santa). (you know of whom I speak write).


Little Man will be two in three weeks (gulp). He hasn’t noticed Santa anywhere. He hasn’t noticed the rapidly growing stack of wrapped presents on the kitchen island. We talk about Baby Jesus, but he is way more interested in Baby Jesus being on top of his Little People stable while Mary yucks it up with the sheep and the horse inside the stable than actually playing out the Christmas story with the characters. Charlie Brown? Not interested. The movies “The Santa Clause 2” and “Miracle on 34th Street” that we watched a few weeks ago when we were sick? Not interested.

So I’m not too concerned about the santa/satan thing right now. We’ll tackle that next year. But the present thing? I see why some parents go nuts at Christmas. And I tend to be more of the simplicity type. But, boy, did I want to buy everything I saw for Little Man while I was shopping!!

I have contemplated for a year about presents. Three to represent the three gifts given to Christ? More? Less? None? We decided on four: something you want, something you need, something to play with and something to read. We also have a budget ($50 for the four presents, combined). But again, I wanted to buy a ton more.

Because I love my son.

See… Jesus was God’s gift to us. Because He loves us. We celebrate Jesus’ birth by giving gifts to those we love. At least, that’s how it works in my family. So I want to give gifts to my son. I want to give gifts to my husband, and my parents, and my brother’s family, and my best friend. Gifts are, in fact, my love language! So I don’t understand NOT giving gifts at Christmas to the people you are supposed to love the most (and gifts, Rachel, could be a water buffalo!!!).

(sidenote: gifts could be food, time, acts of service. they don’t all have to be from a store or wrapped in Christmas paper. that is all.)

I think there is a balance to be achieved: mass consumerism vs heartfelt expressions of love. I love my son, so I bought him the Little People’s Noah’s Ark. But we also did a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.

Oh, and if you remember from my last post… we have a crazy weekend coming up. Essentially from 5:00 Friday night until 5:00 Monday night, we are booked solid. Pray for my sanity. And my patience. And our health 🙂

And I hope you find the right balance for your family. But most of all, I hope that if you love Christ, your family knows it from your actions.

7 thoughts on “Christmas This Year

  1. Rachel~ These blog posts you speak of have gotten under my skin in a big way this year, and we don't do Santa in our house. I would love to chat more with you about that via FB! 🙂 BUT what I will say is that I do believe there is not much that separates the overindulgence from the need for man's approval be living SO loudly what it is we are doing for His kingdom. What else do these bloggers do all year I want to ask. Why is December the time that you suddenly feel a tug on your heart? As I stated on a friends facebook, my kids will learn contentment both in times of plenty and in want as Paul says he did in Phillipians. BOTH circumstances have their place, not just self denial. Receiving gifts at Christmas or anytime of the year does not produce an ungrateful or selfish child, lack of proper teaching and truth does.


  2. I think the 4 gifts is a great plan! I too was guilty of overindulgence our our kids this year, and I have already committed to not doing the same next year. 4 gifts is plenty. A want, a need, something to wear and something to read is what I think I am going to do =).
    Praying for your sanity woman!! You can do it!


  3. Gifts are my love language, too! Which is unfortunate come Christmas, because it makes me feel greedy. I tried to get my family to buy me water buffalo and the like a few years ago, but they wouldn't go for it. Hopefully I'll at least get the Kiva.org gift card that's on my list this year! 🙂

    We don't do Santa, not because we really have a problem with Santa, but because we don't recall it being a key part of our childhoods. Doesn't seem worth getting the kid's hopes up for something that isn't that important, you know? Right now, we're trying to come up with some Christmas tradition for our little family that will make sure the focus is on Jesus on Christmas morning. I'll take suggestions. 🙂


  4. regardless of today's post on my crisis of faith… 🙂

    to focus on Jesus on Christmas morning we will read the birth account, probably out of Little Man's rhymying Bible (because he loves it and we can fill in the blanks) and having a birthday cake. we will sing “happy birthday” to Jesus and talk about him as we open gifts.

    that's all i've got this year so far…


  5. Love your post! I so want to find that balance in our family. Last year Isabel was all about Baby Jesus and His birthday. This year it was all more focused on Santa but with our older foster daughter seriously believing in Santa we felt it necessary to do that for her this year. But we included Baby Jesus's birthday as well.

    We do 3 gifts from us and it was so hard not to buy more this year so I'm glad we limit it to 3. I did cheat though and gave them 3 plus pjs instead of pjs being one of the 3 this year. I think I like the 4 idea; need, want, read and wear.

    Dave and I are both big gift givers. There's no way we could ever not give gifts. But I do like the idea of adding something during the holidays that is a special tradition of serving. Like the Shoebox. Something for our kids to learn that it's fun to give. I had the older two buy gifts for their sisters. And they each got to give them to them on Christmas morning. That's something I will continue now that Isabel is old enough to do that, just something from the dollar spot.


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