A Simpler Christmas
The Christmas season is here again and with it comes the year's most excessive consumerism ever. The buying frenzy begins on Black Friday (for those in the U.S.A) and continues all season long. It's also the time for racking up credit card debt and getting all stressed up with decorating, parties, shopping, spending etc,. etc., etc...Arghhhh!
Christmas isn't about presents...Jesus was born in a manger bereft of even the most essential physical comfort, so why has the celebration of His birth turned into so much materialism, and the gift-giving and decorating part have become so important that the essence of Christmas becomes secondary? Last year, my family and I have decided to cut back on our Christmas decorations. We did not put up our big tree, instead I got a table top tree which we decorated with LED lights which uses less electricity. It was enough to put a fascinated smile on our little girl's face. We will use it again this year adding ribbons and small balls.
Like last year too, we will have more Belens (Nativity sets) around the house and an Advent wreath which we used during the 4 Sundays of Advent. We will not put any outdoor lights except for a small lighted Christmas bell and we will be donating our big Parol (Christmas Lantern) to the parochial pre-school of our parish.
As with the more simple decorations, we have also decided on a no gift Christmas. In other words no buying gifts for people who don't need them, that includes ourselves. Instead, we will share what we have like donating used but still good clothes, shoes and toys with others in need. Personally, I am making my own little gifts for close friends and giving away things that I have accumulated through the years but barely used. There are other things we can do that will give the season more meaning, for example:
- Volunteer in a Christmas feeding program
- Spend more time with family, create Christmas memories to last a lifetime
- Share your home with orphans or abandoned children
- Prayer cards or offer masses
- Help family or friends by providing them with a service you can give like babysitting, run errands, etc
- Donate to worthwhile charities
- Adopt a family and give them a happy Noche Buena
- Give food/toy packs to children living in the streets
I'm sure there are still many other things we can think about but the point I am trying to make here is that people celebrate Christmas for the wrong reasons. Isn't it time to focus on Jesus? It is His birthday after all.