Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer...

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." -Buddy the Elf

For those who've never seen Elf, sorry, that may not make sense. (And, if you haven't seen it, you really should.) Anyway, the last couple years I haven't enjoyed the Christmas season much. I might have blamed it on being broke, but I know that isn't it. We were broke pretty much my entire childhood, yet I LOVED Christmas. And, it wasn't from a lack of singing like Buddy suggests. I start listening to carols the day after Halloween, and sing along in my car- much to the horror of my kids.
After Christmas 2 years ago, I tried last year to make changes so I'd enjoy it more. I tried having more scripture study as a family (failed miserably). I had a goal to not shop at all in December (again with the failure). I was so worried about the gifts and if I would be able to get everything I wanted for my kids. And, sadly, I worried over the fact that I wouldn't be getting much. Yeah, I'm shallow that way. I like presents, sue me.
This year, the finances haven't changed at all. My shopping still isn't done with just 5 days to go. Yet, I'm not stressed and so much happier. What made the difference, you might ask. Well, that's what I'm going to tell you. In November, we talked to our kids about Christmas and told them we didn't want to focus on gifts. We'd still get them, just not very elaborate (not that they ever are). We explained that we wanted to focus on our Savior and the true reason we celebrate. In doing so, we asked them to think of ways we could do service. They weren't very creative (snow shoveling was their only idea), but we helped out. SO, that's what we've done. Nothing big, mind you. We've just done a few small things for others. There's a great quote by Mother Theresa-
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." This has made all the difference for me and my feelings this year. I'm not stressed out over the gifts I can give or those I might or might not get. I'm enjoying the time with my family and looking forward to Christmas day and knowing I won't look back on this holiday season with regret.
Now, my reason for this post is not to brag. I want to issue a challenge. If you're in need of a little Christmas spirit, or if you already have it and want more, there's an easy answer. Give some service this week. It doesn't have to be elaborate. We all have dreams of giving out hundred dollar bills or surprising someone with a whole Christmas. But, so often it's the small things that really matter. Here's a few suggestions-
bake cookies for a friend; write a letter to someone, telling them how great they are; invite a single person over for dinner; shovel a driveway (it's supposed to snow on Wed.); e-mail an old friend; smile and say Merry Christmas; give someone a compliment-seriously, we all know how that makes your day; leave a comment on someone's blog (I'm not hinting about this blog, I just know we all like to get comments).
It doesn't have to cost anything, just a little thought and effort on your part. I promise it'll make you feel better and Christmas will be that much merrier.
Merry Christmas!

7 comments:

  1. AMEN! We all need the reminder about doing more and spending less. I need it every year, it seems. Merry Christmas!

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  2. We passed out tons of baked good plates today and we have only 21 more to go. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So the baked goods are probably all dried out but it's the thought that counts.

    Next year, my thoughts will be to bake JUST banana bread and call it a day. It has been an exhausting week with the homemade gifts. Take up crafting and start early, so you won't feel overwhelmed or like you didn't work hard at it. That's what I plan to do in 2010.

    May
    p.s. I love your sense of humor/reality = )

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  3. I will try...I will try.:) I too vow to stay out of stores in December. Minus fabric stores, I've been pretty good so far. I can honestly say I haven't been to Target and I don't really go anywhere else anymore except NW for food.:)

    I just realized I need to do my pay it forwards from earlier in the year....do those count?:)

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  4. Oh, Megan, I need to do mine, too. And, yes, I'd say they count.

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  5. julie
    you are such an inspiration!
    hugs
    charity

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  6. hello friend...I'm missing you like crazy lately! Thanks for the wonderful person you are!

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