Seven Ways to Have a Joy Filled Christmas without Consumerism

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Christmas is almost here! It is a time of family and remembering our past year. A time when we gather for get togethers and celebrating friendship and our families. An annual celebration for Christians to hand out gifts, prepare meals and shop.

But it can also be a time of stress when we wear ourselves out and drift into a Christmas of labor and not joy. For some it is a time of loneliness and isolation, a reminder of a life that is set apart.

Our televisions, radios and computers will blare with “buy this or hurry now and buy.” All serving to dull the real purpose of Christmas. A Christmas taken away by consumerism that exhaust us and create a false sense of Christmas.

What can we do? How do we slow down and enjoy Christmas? How do we create memories of joy that will be remembered and create a tapestry of happiness for all to remember? How do we learn that giving is far better than receiving?

Here are seven ways to push back on those things that distract our Christmas and create a joy filled Christmas.

Help one family member or friend

We all know that one person who needs a little extra care this holiday. Reach out to them this Christmas and show them that they are loved. Maybe take them out to a meal and listen to their story. Or perhaps give them a very personal gift that shows you care. Mostly let them know they aren’t alone.

Visit your local Salvation Army Bell Ringer

Find the place where a Salvation Army ringer is standing, ringing their bell. Put in a few more dollars into their basket than you normally would. And thank them for what they do for the world. Honor their presence as someone who is giving their time to make life better for those of need. Let them know you care.

Watch a Christmas Movie

There are many wonderful Christmas movies to share with family and friends that capture the true spirit of Christmas. During Christmas time put aside time to sit together and enjoy a wonderful movie. Perhaps watch It’s a Wonderful Life or maybe A Miracle on 34th street. Or a classic story of giving and not receiving; like A Christmas Carol and don’t forget the popcorn. There are many movies from decades past that capture the true spirit of Christmas and are fun to watch. Let this time together be a time of reflection and a gathering that will be remembered. Maybe even set aside a time for yourself to watch these movies to rest and experience expressions from the past of Christmas time.

Ask for that Your Present is a Donation

Perhaps this is the Christmas that you don’t receive presents. This Christmas when we are asked what do we want, reply, “Donate the value of the present you were going to buy to your favorite charity. I have enough, I have been blessed.” With so many in need throughout our communities it is a way of helping out those who need more this Christmas.

Visit an Assisted Living or Hospice Center

Many of those who live in assisted living or in hospice will have a tougher Christmas this year. Many will spend their Christmas alone and without visitors. They need to know they are cared for. Help them know that Christmas does exist for them. Many churches organize visits during this time of year. Perhaps your church does as well. Bring books or crafts. If you don’t know someone in a center, call ahead and ask is there someone who needs a visit.

Call long Ago Friends and Wish them Merry Christmas

We all have those friends we wish we could talk to, but seem to run out of time. This Christmas try calling friends from the past and wish them a Merry Christmas. Not just send a card, but say “I care.” Perhaps this will reignite a desired friendship that has been dimmed by time and distance. Maybe It’s one special person or a number of people.

Go to a Candlelight Service at Your Local Church

Is this the Christmas that you attend church on Christmas Eve and start a new tradition or perhaps continue an old tradition? In all communities there is a church that will have a Candlelight service we can attend. Music is sung with gusto and it is a joy filled time. The highlight is a church filled with candles lit one by one. The lights are dimmed and the congregation will sing Silent Night, a soul filled song with remembrance of the true meaning of Christmas. Words when listened to express the real meaning of Christmas.

This is our Christmas this year. Our Christmas, not to just receive but to give. A Christmas to avoid buying presents out of consumerism, and one to bring in the real spirit of Christmas. It is our Christmas to push past the ads and the exhausting process of making sure we bought enough. It is our Christmas not to worry about what we got, but what we give. And to remember that what we give with our time, many times is more important that what we spend.

This is the year we change how we celebrate Christmas.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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