This Christmas Blog Post Brought to You by…

Isn’t it sad that many of us would not be surprised if I had said Target or Walmart or Amazon or whatever other retailer you can think of? This time of year is so filled with commercials to buy this latest and greatest toy or gadget.

For many years we have had a couple of different Christmas shows that have spoken out against this commercialism of Christmas. Charlie Brown speaks out against it in the holiday classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, which was created in 1965. However, 18 years before that there was another holiday classic that spoke out against the commercialism of Christmas. This time the person speaking out against it was none other then Santa Claus himself in what is (in my opinion) the greatest Christmas movie of all times, “Miracle on 34th Street”.

I think that often times I don’t realize how far back this problem with the commercialism of Christmas has gone. I think of this as a more modern day problem, but when I watch those shows I realize that it goes all the way back to many years ago. While I appreciate those shows and their message I have realized that talking about it is a much different thing then doing it. I have watched those shows year after year and nod my head in agreement and then head off to the stores to buy as much as my credit cards will allow me to, so that I can make as many people hapy as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that gift giving is a wonderful thing. I find great joy in watching people get gifts. However, the problem comes when we put ourselves into debt just so that we can do it. This has been a problem for many years in our country. My wife and I for several years got smart and started buying gifts throughout the year, so that we wouldn’t have to spend it all at once and go into debt for Christmas gifts.

Every year my extended family and us would exchange names between us adults for gift giving and then we would buy gifts for all the kids. This year since many of the people in my family are struggling financially we decided to do something different. We chose to have everyone exchange names, adults and kids, but we were not allowed to simply buy a gift. We had to make something for them instead. It was so cool to be able to make something for my niece. My whole family loved being able to create something for someone else. It was a lot of fun. I made this dog house for my niece. Well, I should say that I painted it since it was already pre-made.

It is nice to be able to simplify things a little bit this year for Christmas. Kimmy have decided that we wanted to get a gift for our family this year was going to be something to bring us together, so we bought a Nintendo Wii and a couple of games for the kids. I am not a big gamer person but I really love the Wii and find it to be a lot of fun.

The holidays should be about bringing family together and not just buying them gifts. We really are feeling that desire to want to have our family feel closer together now that many of us all live in different states. Our first year of marriage Kimmy and I made gifts for everyone, because we didn’t have a lot of money since we were just married just a few weeks earlier. I can remember just about every gift we made for them those 14 years ago, but I can’t remember the stuff I got our family last year. There is something to the simplicity of that makes it mean so much more. Not too mention how much we are downplaying the commercialism that has become a part of the Christmas season.

I hope that this year you can find a way to bring you and your family closer together. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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