Christmas has always, always been my favorite holiday by far! It used to be because of no school, snow, and presents. But, as I’ve grown up, especially after moving to Utah for college and being so close to Temple Square during the holidays, it’s become more about the spirit of Christmas–family, love, giving, service, friends, and Christ. Today, my friend, Karen talks about how to keep Christ in Christmas.
Hello, friends of Tayler and The Morrell Tale! I’m very excited to be a guest today, sharing some thoughts on how to keep Christ in Christmas.
Christmas is different for everyone. Some look forward to it all year long, while others just want to pull the covers over their heads and sleep from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum, I think many of us can agree that it gets difficult to keep our focus on the real purpose of this time of year. With so many distractions competing for our attention, here are four ways you can remember Christ and keep the spirit of Christmas with you.
1. Serve others in meaningful ways.
I know people get more generous at Christmastime. Tips get a little bigger. Donations are higher. Gifts are abundant. These are all great things. But you can truly feel the spirit of Christ when you do more than toss a few dollars into a bucket or clean out that coat closet. Find a soup kitchen where you can go and serve meals. Help pack up boxes to send to the troops. Participate in an adopt-a-family type event and bring Christmas to a family that would otherwise go without.
When it comes to finding ways to give service, there are endless options. And each one will touch someone’s life, while also helping you feel the love our Savior has for each of us.
2. Enjoy Christ-centered entertainment.
“Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” is definitely a fun tune. So are “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The jury is mixed on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” And there is plenty of room for all of those wintery songs. But when it comes time to really focusing on Christ’s birth, you can’t go wrong by choosing music that focuses on that miracle. The album O Holy Night by the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra is a great way to get started.
In addition, watching movies and specials that focus on the spirit of Christmas will help set the tone. Netflix and Hulu have some great options right now.
3. Focus on your gift recipients, rather than on the gifts.
There is an ever-increasing number of complaints about how consumerism has taken over Christmas. And for many people, that is true. Some respond by refusing to give gifts altogether, or by doing so only grudgingly. The thing is, Christmas gift-giving isn’t inherently bad. It’s all about your attitude. Instead of hurrying through a long list of wish lists, spend some time thinking about each recipient, and what would be special to them. Take the opportunity to ponder your relationships, their personalities, their needs and wants. And then choose gifts that are meaningful. You might be surprised how this impacts your feelings about gift-giving in general. Plus, it helps to remember that we love our friends and family just as much as our Savior does.
4. Read or tell the Nativity Story.
One tradition I miss from my childhood is one that happened every night on Christmas Eve. My mom would gather us kids under the Christmas tree, beside the Nativity Scene that was always placed in a prominent place, and she told us the Nativity Story.
If you don’t feel comfortable reciting it, open up Luke 2 and read the account straight from the Bible. Spend some time on Christmas Eve thinking about the real reasons we celebrate Christmas. This will help you go into Christmas morning with a positive attitude, and hopefully a little extra love for your family.
What are some of your tips for keeping Christ in Christmas?
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Karen Peterson is a blogger, traveler, and movie critic loving life in Southern California. Her hobbies include watching too many movies, binging too much television, and winning arguments on Twitter. When she’s not stirring up trouble online, she can often be found in the Dole Whip line at Disneyland, or attempting to catch free t-shirts at Angels baseball games.