Over the past few months Bryan and I have read a lot about family traditions and how many people celebrate holidays. When it comes to Christmas we veer way outside of how a lot of people think. Over the last couple of years Bryan and I have really tried to redo the way we celebrate Christmas. By redo, I mean that we have tried to not let the world dictate how we should be celebrating the birth of our Savior.
Two years ago we decided to match any gift that we gave friends and family by donating to Heifer International. We made a big deal about it and printed out those cute tags that they provide to show someone that you purchased say a flock of chickens in their name. We were trying hard to do something different, but I think we still wanted that feel good moment from something that we did. Last year we donated, but I am not sure anyone knew (at least until now).
Two years ago we tried to stop making a list of Christmas gifts and last year Bryan and I stopped giving gifts to each other. We always put too much emphasis on the gifts and the surprise leading up to the gift exchange, which always led to disappointment for us in the end. Now we don't have to even worry about it anymore and that feels good.
Since Seth was just barely three months old last year at this time we didn't really worry too much about what we would do for Christmas other than starting our Jesus' birthday celebration on Christmas Day. This year though we want to add more traditions, but not just any traditions. We want what we do with Seth to be meaningful. We always knew we didn't want to "do Santa." We don't want to make a big deal about gifts for ourselves. We don't have stockings that hang from the chimney with care. If you have been around for a while, you know I have struggled with decorating for Christmas for the last few years, but for now the decorations are staying although they have been toned down a lot. We are happy with the choices that we have made and are making, but we started worrying that we would be like "those people" who act like the Christian life is a big ol' list of don'ts. We realize that we are already the complete weirdos that don't do Santa plus a thousand other things (like Halloween, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc.). But we want to make it clear that even though there are a lot of things we don't do, there are plenty of things we do.
So we are making an effort to create traditions that are full of joy and celebration, but that don't include empty distractions. We want to be conscious and intentional about our gift giving. We want Christmas and every other celebration throughout the year to honor God. We don't have everything figured out, but hopefully we can share what worked for us and what didn't along the way.