The Best Christmas Ever
By Anna Wood
Our family has never had much money but we have a great time celebrating Christmas each year. You don't need a lot of money to sing Christmas carols as you take a drive, read Christmas books to your children that you have checked out from the library, play a Christmas c.d. and dance to it with your babies or gather your children around and pull out the glue, crayons and construction paper and make Christmas-y paper chains or cut out and color paper Christmas trees and angels and hang them on your walls.
It doesn't take much in the way of time, effort or money to drive your children around town and watch while their eyes light up (and listen as their voices raise to unbelievable heights) as together you get lost in the beauty of Christmas lights and revel in the magic of Santas, snowmen and sleighs. It's not that hard to bake cookies with your children and involve them in decorating the tree...or the whole house... and lose yourself in the memories that you are making with your own Christmas angels.
Seeing Christmas through children's eyes, it isn't about money but about time; it isn't about what you get but what you do.Go window shopping together. Or, if you can afford it, get them involved in buying a present for a child who otherwise might not get one. Hold them in your lap and tell them stories of Christmas past: your past. Tell them about what happened when Jesus was born and why it's important. Decorate your children's bedrooms: let each of them start their own Christmas collection that they can display on their dressers and then string lights over and around their windows. Of course, if they are very young you want to be careful with this but as they get a little bit older it makes their bedroom reflect a more magical place and time.
Play Christmas music as you decorate the tree together (Elvis, Roger Whittaker, Bing Crosby, John Berry, Kenny Rogers, John Denver--alone or with the Muppets-- and the Tractors are some of our favorites at Christmas). Put on a Christmas movie (White Christmas, Christmas With the Kranks, The Santa Clause, Scrooge, Muppets Christmas Carol, I'll Be Home For Christmas, The Christmas Stallion --or The Winter Stallion, as some refer to it-- and A Christmas Carol are some of our favorites) and pop popcorn as you sort through decorations that have seen better days but still sparkle from the love reflected in your children's eyes.
One of the best Christmases my older children had when they were the little ones was one of our poorest. On Christmas eve we gave them a coloring book, crayons and a pack of clay each and that was all. Santa then brought them a few toys and books (some of which came from yard sales). We were broke and it showed when compared to their friends but you wouldn't have known it by looking at them. Their eyes glowed and they loved every moment of it. Their laughter was delicious on Christmas morning as they tore open the wrapping paper and gleefully showed off their treasures. Each thought that their presents were the best when compared with their brothers and sister (only one girl!).
As we tucked them into the bed at the end of the day, my tired but elated little ones told us that it had definitely been the "best Christmas ever!" They meant it, too. As Charles and I thought it over, we realized that they were probably right. We didn't emphasize things that year as much as togetherness. Everything we did was for and with each other. Charles and I didn't even exchange presents that Christmas but, then again, we didn't need to. Our presents were sleeping in the room next to ours as we went to bed that night.
So, this Christmas remember to emphasize togetherness over things and celebration over presents. You, like us, just might end up having your best Christmas ever.
Anna Wood is a Christian wife, mother, homeschooler and writer. Having nine living children (and three in heaven) ages 3 to 20, she is very busy. She writes e-books on subjects ranging from Christian living to miscarriage. Her website is called The Apples of Gold and is at http://theapplesofgold.com