I love Christ But I Don’t Like Christmas 

I can’t remember when it happened exactly, but I broke up with Christmas. At first I said, “Hey! Our relationship is much deeper than gifts, so let’s write letters to make sure our relationship doesn’t become superficial.” For years I wrote letters and sent cards to hundreds of people. The message was simple and consistent, Jesus is the reason for the season; but, overtime I began to wonder if that declaration was true.

If Jesus is the reason for the season then why do we focus on everything but Christ during Christmas time? Shopping, Santa, stockings, trees, baked goods, gifts, mistletoes, candies… Christmas is one big giant sensory overload. Initially we would do a “Happy Birthday Jesus Party” to keep our focus on Christ. Upon examining Christ’s birth a bit closer, I felt like I had been in a relationship with someone who had been lying to me about their past.

Christmas started to feel more like an arranged marriage rather than the advent of my Savior. Christmas is something my parents introduced me to. I really did not have a choice whether or not I was going to enter this relationship. I never quite understood why adults would teach me not to talk to strangers but would dress me up once a year, take me to a complete stranger, have me sit on his lap, whisper in his ear, and tell him what I wanted. They would even go so far as to encourage me to write a letter to him and include my home address. Is it just me, or is that creepy?

Christmas traditions perplex me. No matter how much I tried to tie biblical meaning to holiday symbols for my children, it just felt like I was doing a different version of the same thing. Revamping Christmas traditions to put a Christian twist on them felt more like embellishment and conjecture.

My favorite non-traditional Christmas celebration was called, “Bring Your God Given Gift.” It was a party in which we encouraged all of our friends to celebrate Christmas by sharing their talents to honor God in lieu of exchanging presents. If a person cooked, they brought a dish. If they played an instrument, they played a song. If they had a gift of speaking, they shared a message. Like the various parts of the body we got to see every joint supply as something significant. For many, I believe it was one of the first times that their God given gift had been acknowledged in a formal setting.

For every stage of my Christmas detox there have been aspects that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I have always loved sending and receiving mail. For years we would write a family newsletter, send a photo greeting, or mail a Christmas poem out to loved ones and friends. It was one of my favorite ways to commemorate the holidays. I think overtime, social media has diminished the impact of photos because we share them so frequently. I still find it endearing to receive Christmas cards, but I did not feel like taking the time to mail cards this year. Time and money saved from addressing envelopes was spent with my family. My only regret is that older relatives (who aren’t on social media) won’t have the excitement of opening an envelope and seeing our faces this season.

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I am not a killjoy. My kids do get to experience winter fun. We occasionally accept invitations to Christmas parties and we make memories with our friends. But we refrain from the consumer driven pressure to purchase gifts. Commercialism has not corrupted our kids. They enjoy both giving and receiving gifts throughout the year but we have never done a traditional gift exchange.

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Prior to being married, my husband and I witnessed children disrespect their parents over unmet expectations on Christmas morning. We decided long before having kids that we would not create an environment for our children to believe that Christmas is when you get stuff. Our children cherish the gift of presence not just presents.

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Breaking up with Christmas is a process. It does not have to take place over night. We have baked cookies for neighbors in pastimes. Passed out cozy socks and blankets at the nursing home, and purchased gifts for single parents. I am not sharing this to brag on our family’s good works. I am sharing this to help someone not feel bad about relinquishing man made traditions. It is okay for you to break free from something that might be perfectly fine for others but just no longer works for you. It doesn’t mean you love Jesus any less. It may mean that you find yourself free enough to love Him more.

My most frequent memory of Christmas when I was younger was a desire to give, but a feeling of never having enough that would follow. These days I rest in knowing that I owe man nothing but love. I find it far easier to love others well, when I can do so in the absence of buyer’s remorse. The only debt I will enter the new year with is a charge of being present in people’s presence, and loving them with the love of Christ.

Do you have a non-traditional way of celebrating Christmas? If so, feel free to share in the comments below.

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6 thoughts on “I love Christ But I Don’t Like Christmas 

  1. I think my Christmas experience is the opposite. Once I was an adult, I stopped celebrating Christmas. Like you, I was turned off by the materialism of it and then reading origins of the traditions turned me off even more.
    When I was in the military my family started a tradition of rotating Christmas locations and even though it’s always a pain to travel, it is always such a joyous time when we get together.
    Years ago, I started “adopting” families for Christmas.
    You are so right that Jesus gets lost in the Christmas commercialism.
    Since I’ve been married, I’ve started sending out Christmas cards. I love to choose a scripture to put on it that emphasizes love.
    It has helped me reconnect with a lot of older people and even some of my old clients.
    I will have to try to think of more ways to celebrate Jesus in my Christmasing

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  2. I like the idea of rotating locations. One year our family drove to Arizona to visit family friends. It was one of my most cherished Christmas memories. Cards are my favorite but I think I still haven’t recovered from mailing out books. I saw my fair share of the post office in 2016. Adopting families is awesome! We’ve had people offer to adopt our family and I have gracefully declined. I feel like our older kids have such a healthy perception of giving that I don’t want the younger ones thinking that Christmas is a time to receive. The materialism is my least favorite part of the holiday season. It breaks my heart to hear people say things like, “We’re not going to have a good Christmas this year.” As if a surplus of presents and decorations determine the quality of their Christmas.

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  3. Christmas has always been a sad time for me. When growing up as a little girl, my stepfather would make it clear my younger sister, his biological, deserved to get more than me. I remember finding myself going through the motions at a young age, often being sad on Christmas after opening gifts because my sister would get the latest and the greatest and I would get the opposite. As I grew older, my resentment for Christmas continued until I had children of my own. I made a purposeful effort to make Christmas a joyous time, and made sure my children knew the true meaning of Christmas. I didn’t put emphasis on gifts and if I bought anything, I would buy practical things. The problem with that was my family did not share the same tradition as I did, and would often buy my children expensive toys. This unfortunately corrupted my son as he did not appreciate what I bought him because he was inticed by the latest and the greatest he would get from family members. Over time, I would have to decline expensive gifts because it was corrupting him so badly. It was hard getting so much pressure from family because they viewed my choice to be practical as punishing the kids and that was not the case. I continued to make sure they understood our tradition.

    Now that I am married, my husband and I do not emphasize buying gifts so much because we do so for each other throughout the year. We make a big deal of birthdays and our Anniversaries. As for the kids and now my grandbaby, I have them write on strips of paper 5 or 6 things they want, then I draw 2 gifts, and that is I usually get them(if within my spending limit). I keep the list of the other gifts I did not draw, and use them for ideas for gifts throughout the year. For example, four years ago, I bought my daughter some Ugg boots. I am not a fan of overpriced items but I realized the boots were quality and still look decent after 4 years. One of her requests this year was for some new Ugg boots and as I did my research and priced them, Uggs boots have a high price point and rarely do you find them on sale, however yesterday on Christmas eve, I decided to check out a place someone told me about that is a retailer for Uggs and it’s not a large store. They had some Uggs 30% and I bought the last pair in her size. I find joy in finding good deals! So, that is one of our traditions, instead of getting caught in the rat race of Christmas shopping, we get up early on Christmas eve with our lists and see what we can find. Yesterday, there was hardly any traffic and we were in and out of stores without lines – I was shocked. We also do a lot of handmaking gifts which is fun. My daughter makes her own videos and needed a halo light. Well, those lights are expensive, so instead of me buying it, she took to youtube and made her own – very inexpensively, and she did a wonderful job!

    Another thing is I love to decorate for Christmas. I don’t go crazy, but I like having the lights and the cute decorations – it make me feel so warm and cozy this time of year. Another tradition I have is I sit down and reflect on the goodness of Jesus and I get a jump start on my game plan for 2017 buy writing on my goals in my 3 ring binder. Later today, we will either go to the movies and/or play some board games.

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    1. I can totally relate to you in so many ways. I love the new traditions you created! Thank you so much for sharing! I love the idea of goal setting for the following year. I was just thinking about posting a blog this week about the power of vision… Thanks for the confirmation and the inspiration. Headed to go play board games with my babies right now! Enjoy your time with your family!

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