A good question to pose on Black Friday is: What is Christmas?
It is quite simple, actually. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which happens to be held on 25 December.
It is NOT about presents and all the decorations, although that is what MANY in our culture are PRIMARILY focused on. To that I’d say: Go for it, it is VERY good for the economy 🙂
A few years ago my wife and I considered the annual MARKETING of Christmas (which seems to start sooner each year) and how we had been sucked into it, during the earlier years of raising our 4 boys (presently ages 17, 20, 22 and 25).
We considered the process we’d go through each year…
- What is our total budget?
- Divide by 4 to determine how much we’d spend on each kid.
- What are we going to get each kid?
- Well now, we’ve spent a few bucks more on him. How are we going to even things up for the rest of them?
- Yeah, but he has 2 BIG things, and the rest only have 1.
- We really should get each boy one of these. But, we’ll need 4 different colors.
If you have kids, you know the picture.
We then asked ourselves: Where are all those “things” we purchased for the boys, over all those years? We realized that 99% are in a landfill. What a waste! We did, however, save the Legos. Those never go bad 🙂
As a result, we decided to make a change. We would no longer participate in the “Marketing of Christmas.”
Instead of “presents” for Christmas, we’d give undivided “presence.”
Beginning in 2011, we decided that Christmas would not revolve around presents under the Christmas Tree. Our celebration would involve being together over the Christmas Holiday, somewhere in the world (i.e., passports required). And, absolutely NO presents.
We are DONE with trying to jam a shopping spree into the final weeks of the year. The reality is that I’d rather shove a sharp stick into my eye than go to the mall on Black Friday, fighting frenzied shoppers caught-up in the “Marketing of Christmas”, to buy stuff for our kids who already have everything they need. If they REALLY “want” something, they can take the money they’ve earned to go get it themselves.
So, over the last few years our Christmas has been, well, sandy…
- 2011 – 10 days in Costa Rica
- 2012 – 12 days in the Dominican Republic
- 2013 – 13 days in Antigua
Unforgettable experiences – together. You can read more about the above on the Travel and Adventure page.
Where are we going this Christmas? I’ll write about that later 🙂
You might ask: Why, out of the country?
The reason: kids need to understand that the world is MUCH, MUCH BIGGER than the little town they live in. They need to get away from the daily routine (and drama) and have their mind BLOWN AWAY.
This includes seeing and touching other lands, interacting with people of various cultures, who speak different languages. In doing so, they quickly realize that we all are much more alike than different, serving to shed prejudices and assumptions. They learn a broader world-perspective vs. the limited view experienced from the town they grew up in and how the media would portray other cultures and lands.
Bottom-line: Instead of spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on “things” (most of which will be in a landfill, long forgotten, within a short period of time) we are investing in experiences that broaden our kids’ horizons (a high-quality education, you could say) and, more importantly are extremely fun for all.
In closing, may the giving of “presents” not distract you from the true meaning of Christmas: the “presence” of Christ.
p.s. – Our no presents policy will likely be “slightly” modified on the arrival of grandkids 🙂