Hmmm I thought long and hard about what to share in this post. I’m not a baking whiz, and most years I don’t have to cook for the holidays, so I won’t share any kitchen ideas. I do think that each year we try to focus more and more on the birth of Christ, and less on the commercialized gift-giving.
Here are a few things we’ve done to keep Christ in Christmas:
1) Started a straw manger. Each day we would strive to do little things to be nice to others. For example, making my sister’s bed, or helping Mom cook dinner. Then for each good deed we did, we’d put a piece of straw in the manger. Hopefully by Christmas morning, it is a nice comfortable bed for the Savior.
2) Had an advent calendar that had daily scripture readings that point to the birth of Christ. It’s a nice time to read some of the Old Testament and Book of Mormon prophecies of the birth of the Savior.
3) Read the Biblical account of the birth of the Savior on Christmas morning. It was nice to read first thing in the morning, and it helped us to see that the focus is on Christ, not the presents under the tree. They were only opened after we read the story, and some years after breakfast too!
4) One year we each elected to receive just one gift, and the money that would have been spent on our other gifts was used to give Christmas to a family that otherwise wouldn’t have much under the tree. I remember one year when we were about to move from San Diego, we elected as a family not to have presents for Christmas because we’d be moving 4 days later. I’m sure my parents’ financial situation wasn’t too good that year either. A family from our church adopted our family and left a HUGE box of Christmas presents for us. They gave us clothes appropriate for Pennsylvania, and a toy for each for on the plane. It was seriously one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, so each year I’ve tried to pay it forward.
If you can’t adopt a family, donate a toy to Toys for Tots or another charity; or answer one of the “Dear Santa” letters at the local post office. I used to *love* to go to the main post office in Manhattan to find the letter I would answer.
5) Volunteer at a local charity or soup kitchen. It makes a world of a difference in my outlook, as I remember it’s not all about me, and that there are those who are worse off than I am, no matter how bad my situation may be.
Discussion: What do you do to keep Christ in Christmas?