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What do you do to make Christmas Meaningful?(17 posts)

What do you do to make Christmas Meaningful?Len J
Dec 13, 2002 4:52 AM
We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the Consumerism & must do's of Christmas and forget to make it a meaningful time. So in the spirit of reminding me (& I need it) of what is important & how to preserve it:

What specific things do you do to make Christmas Meaningful?

I know this is the "Non-Cycling" board but....MB1
Dec 13, 2002 5:33 AM
On the 24th Miss M likes to ride from home up to Shepardstown, WV and overnight at the Bavarian Inn. Great food and beautiful rooms.

We mail our good clothes there and back so all we have to do is ride.

I of course have to figure some way to get her present up there....

Then we get a nice quiet Christmas day ride back home.

Weather permitting.
I would only be surprised...........Len J
Dec 13, 2002 7:19 AM
if it didn't involve riding.

Sounds like a great tradition.

re: What do you do to make Christmas Meaningful?PaulCL
Dec 13, 2002 6:22 AM
We kick out the relatives.

Sounds heartless, but let me explain. My wife and I have three young children - ages 10,8 & 4. Christmas is very special for them - afterall, Christmas is for children. We have found that when we have the in-laws in (mine or hers) or other family members, Christmas becomes chaotic. A few years ago, by accident, our family of five were alone on Christmas day. It was wonderful. My wife and I were allowed to dwell on our children not our guests. Extended family is great, but in-house guests take a lot of time and energy. Time and energy that we owe to our children. As our parents get older (in their 70's now), they are not as adept at changing their schedules to suit the needs of three small, very excited children on Christmas morning. My children give me the Christmas spirit that morning- something I sorely lack the entire month of December. Having guests in the house just suck the life and spirit right out of me.

My kids love it. My Mom will come in early this year, so the kids will have their 1st Christmas with Gram this Saturday. The weekend after Christmas, we go to my inlaws, so my kids will have Christmas #3. It extends the holdiday for the entire family. I've just gotta convince my wife that I need to bring my bike to my in-laws the weekend after Christmas. Snow on the ground??? What snow on the ground????
We're doing the same thingmickey-mac
Dec 13, 2002 6:53 AM
My wife's parents are divorced and re-married, so that leaves three sets of grandparents to our kids, in addition to all the aunts, uncles, and cousins. After previous years of driving from house to house on Christmas, we're staying in this year with just our kids on Christmas day. We'll spend time with the extended family during Christmas week, but one day will be set aside for the four of us to stay home alone. Visiting on Christmas is nice, but packing and driving seems to consume half the day. Not driving on Christmas will be my present.
same heretarwheel
Dec 13, 2002 8:08 AM
We used to visit relatives at Christmas until one year we realized it was just too hectic. Now, it's just a time for me, my wife and daughter to hang around, open presents, cook and eat a lot, and just take it easy. Much more enjoyable and stress free. We now do our family visits at Thanksgiving.

I come from a very large family (8 kids) and Christmas shopping used to be a real chore. About 12 years ago, I started carving wooden ornaments for Christmas presents. It's now become a family tradition, and everyone tells me it's one of their favorite presents. I spend hours making them -- coming up with a design, carving, painting and waxing -- but it's a labor of love. As a bonus, I have to spend very little time in the shopping malls. It makes for some busy days, however, in the last few weeks before Christmas ... which reminds me, I still have some more carving to do.
Family time...Jomo Kenyatta
Dec 13, 2002 8:19 AM
There are very few families who could successufully pull off a large family gathering without major chaos. My family is no exception. I think it's a great idea to have the large get togethers on other days and spend Christmas itself with just immediate family. Helps to keep tension WAY down, and lets you focus more time on the true meaning of Christmas. In my family, we always did the more "spiritual" side of things on Christmas Eve, before the new toys became a distraction. Even though my kids aren't really old enough to understand yet, I think we'll keep that tradition alive. Christmas day we usually invite people over who don't have anywhere else to go on Christmas. (Sometimes that can be almost as hectic as a large family gathering - for example, last year that turned into 25 people eating in our small apartment - but they're usually more polite and easier to control than family! ;^)
Ignore itEager Beagle
Dec 13, 2002 7:12 AM
pretty much.

That way the family gets to have a nice time without the influence of all the disgusting consumerism and money lust that gets people who can't affort it into debt that will ruin thier lives for at least another 6 months, and a house full of marketing driven hype and junk that adds squat to the value of human existance.

I had the same attitude.......Len J
Dec 13, 2002 7:47 AM
for most of my life.

Growing up, Christmas would so stress my parents that it became hell for eveyone around them, mostly the kids. The most drinking, the most brutality, the most ugliness surrounded the holidays. As a result, as I got older, Xmas became a thing to be tolerated at worst, ignored at best. It was always a relief when I survived another one.

When my kids were young, I realized that I was transferring this Xmas stress to them. I decided that that wasn't the me that I wanted to be. What I wanted Xmas to be was a time that brought me & my kids closer together, that reminded me, my kids and the ones we love how important we all are to each other. When I started to look at Xmas through that lense, I was able to create new traditions, new memory generators (to replace the old memories) that reinforced this feeling that Xmas could be a time of reflection and appreciation of the special people in my life.

As a result, my grown children look forward to Xmas with a childs glee, as importantly, these traditions are reminders to me of what is important. It has become self reinforcing.

Some of the things we do:
1.) For 25 years, friends & their families & me & my family meet and go to a tree farm together to pick trees. we then go back to someones house for a celebration & gfreindship sharing. This signals the start of the holidays.

2.) We pick one of the family every year to be specially gifted and made the center of attention. Gifts are given that remind each of us of that persons genuine specialness.

3.) My kids spend the morning with their mother so my wife & I get up together and share one gift at a time, intersperced with co-making breakfast, talking, relaxing, etc. Our gift exchange easily lasts for several hours and makes each present special.

4.) We spend the afternoon at my sisters where my entire family congregates and "gifts" each other with presents and good company. My kids meet us there.

5.) In the early evening, we all go back to my house & do our Chrismas where we have many silly traditions that accumulate the appreciation of each other.

Xmas has gone from a trial to a joy for me. But at the beginning it was a choice.

Enjoy & appreciate the ones you love for Xmas. It is the greatest gift.

You 4th wise man - have a good one. nmEager Beagle
Dec 13, 2002 7:55 AM
Hardly wise.........Len J
Dec 13, 2002 7:59 AM
beat me over the head enough with a 2X4 & I can usually change.

Thanks for the compliment.

re: What do you do to make Christmas Meaningful?McAndrus
Dec 13, 2002 7:37 AM
I think it makes itself meaningful but we sometimes can't see it. And I know why. All this month it's food parties at work. Last Tuesday it was my wife's company Christmas dinner. Last night it was my daughter's school Christmas pagaent. Tomorrow night is my company's Christmas party.

I absolutely loath the early Christmas season. When I should be relaxing and enjoying, I'm hustling and bustling.

And then comes Christmas Eve. I always make sure I'm in church whether I'm at home or visiting relatives. A candelight midnight service on Christmas Eve very clearly and powerfully reminds me why it's meaningful.
different kind of giftsmohair_chair
Dec 13, 2002 7:42 AM
My parents are pretty well off and have always been very charitable in time and money, so a few years ago they told us kids (four of us) that they didn't want gifts. They said to take the money and/or time we would have spent on them and give it to a worthy cause instead. All they wanted was a card that said what we did.

I'm nowhere near as well off, but I'm not into collecting stuff just for the sake of having it. Last year I couldn't think of anything I wanted (anything that anyone would actually buy me), so I told my parents to do the same thing for me.
Spend it with my parentsjtolleson
Dec 13, 2002 12:14 PM
Yes, at the ripe old age of 38 I still get warm fuzzies sitting around the Christmas tree with my now-aging parents. I devote myself to fun in Denver the rest of the year, so why not get on a plane and relive the family holiday? We're scattered all around the country and if we didn't do it, we'd probably only see each other at funerals.

We pick a community charity and each give $100 (or what you can afford). We then draw names and give that person a gift that costs no more than $15. So you get a little gift opening by the fire but the consumerism is fairly quashed.

Christmas eve services optional.

Thank goodness those who have married into my family have shown great acceptance of our tradition. Christmas is for kids (hey! I'm still one!) but more so is for FAMILY.
This year?eyebob
Dec 13, 2002 5:39 PM
I'm going to be around my family and friends but I'm going to set aside some time to take my dogs for a long run in some fields nearby, bring a cigar and a few beers and just do nothing. Nothing at all. I'm going to reflect on what I have and what I don't and why I am where I am. (That sounds as if I'm in a bad place, but no, just the opposite) In short, spend some time with me and my dogs (little Buddha's) for a spell of some good ol' philosophical introspection.

This year, nuthin'.RoyGBiv
Dec 15, 2002 11:09 AM
Yup, absolutely nothing: It's something I've wanted to do for several years, but always found myself sucked into that Christmas merry-go-round of too much food, too much phony good cheer, too much crass commercialism and way, way, too much stress for this man to bear.
Yes, for this year only, my daughters will be away, the obligatory Christmas gifts will have been delivered and - Bah Humbug! - come Dec. 25, I'm going to be hiding under a rock. Maybe I'll go ride. Then again, maybe not.

Merry Christmas to all. And, let me know when it's safe to come out will ya?
Celebrate Epiphany instead and throw an auction. . .js5280
Dec 16, 2002 11:30 AM
Rather than travel/shop/celebrate on Christmas, we would celebrate Epiphany, January 6th instead. That is the traditional day the 3 kings bring gifts for the baby Jesus. Makes life a lot less hectic and also you can hit the post-holiday sales while everyone stands in the Return line.

Our family doesn't emphasize presents very much though. However we do have this tradition of an Auction. Everyone provides a few wrapped white elephant type gifts and we hand out equal amount of poker chips to everyone. Every year, someone new gets to be the Auctioneer and trys to sell these items as best as possible. Each gift has a clue to it's contents and/or who might appreachiate such a gift. There's always a mixture of good gifts and not-so-good gifts. Examples of not so good gifts are the "Moose Poop Earings" It's true, real lacquered moose poop earings! Re-gifting is totally permitted (and expected) especially for the really tacky gifts. Ideally you foist them back to the person who gave it to you. It's always a complete blast, everyone is laughing, remembering auctions past, trying to figure out who had the Moose Poop Earings or the Dancing Frogs Salt and Pepper shaker. It's really the gag gifts that make it such a fun event and people shop all year for them. It's by no means a religious celebration, but more an celebration of family sharing good times together which I think is the most important thing about the Christmas holidays. No gift can replace the love of your family and the memories you share together.