A friend of mine asked her Facebook community this weekend, for advice regarding Christmas presents for her boys. One wanted something huge, expensive and perhaps not available to the general public,  and the other will not express his Christmas wish.

Issue: How do you as a parent, a consumer, balance the craze of the Holiday season while keeping the actual meanings of these Holidays at the forefront? After all, aren’t the actual celebrations based on miracles? Extra Oil? Virgin Birth? Not based on a 3 for 1 sale at the Pack and Shop?

So how do you honor the true meaning, not disappoint your kids and friends (who may be seriously excited about stuff) but create experience and memories for everyone?

Here are my thoughts and no, they don’t really help my friend answer her important question.

CREATE AN OUTSIDE TRADITION

As a kid, we always drove to a tree farm to cut our Christmas tree. It is by far my favorite childhood tradition and one I still miss. We would borrow a truck, layer on hats, gloves and outer wear, drive to a dive diner, eat pancakes and arrive at the tree farm ready to pick our family tree. 

On more than one occasion, after our perfect tree was shining with lights, we would bundle up for a second holiday trip outdoors, grab one of Dad’s guns, a blanket and go shoot mistletoe out of our trees. Of course, Dad would do the shooting and my brother, mother and I would do the gathering. 

I can think of a few other great Holiday Outdoor traditions:

  • Neighborhood Dog Walk on Christmas
  • Christmas Eve Hike
  • Christmas Eve Star Gazing (watching for Santa?)
  • Caroling – hot cider anyone?

BEGIN A FAMILY SERVICE TRADITION

I do not need to preach about service. We know that there are literally millions in such great need that there is always an opportunity to share your blessings and talents with others. Here are a few great traditions that involve service:

  • Angel tree gifts – let your kids pick out a present for a child their age
  • Baking for local fireman / police / public servants
  • Cookies for Santa, and maybe the kids at your local shelter?
  • Caroling at a local nursing home – I can assure you small smiling children will bless everyone in eye or ear shot
  • Take Christmas breakfast to a neighbor who lives alone or without family

EXPAND YOUR FAMILY

Friends are really the family you chose, right? So why not create a Christmas tradition with your friends and your kids friends.

  • Cookie Exchange
  • Soup Exchange
  • Caroling (see above)
  • Hike (see above)
  • Baking for local fireman, etc. (see above)
Turn a simple tradition into a neighborhood one by including others.

So I haven’t answered the present question yet. What to do? Do you give in & Buy stuff people do not really need? I recommend giving experiences, memories, a choice gift or two and words. A note of love can mean so much more than any sale. And as for my friend whose little boy wants a robot (a life size one) you could:

– send a note from Santa explaining why those are top secret and cannot be sent to Roanoke; or

– dress up like a robot; or

–  get a robot building kit; or

– get two small robots and tell him he needs to start small before he can handle big!

I really don’t have any great suggestions. I do however, know that this Season is special for everyone, even little boys with big dreams. And I know spending time with your loved ones will be the only gift you NEED give this year.

Wishing you a very blessed Holiday Season and New Year.