A Wife Loved Like The Church

My Kids Won’t be Celebrating Christmas

Posted on: December 20, 2010

Our family will no longer be celebrating Christmas.

That seems hard to grasp, since without question, Christmas is my favorite holiday. But it’s true. Our family will no longer be celebrating Christmas in the American style. Our daughters will not open Christmas presents, there will be no exchange. We will not be checking our gift list and wondering who we missed. Instead, we will be turning our focus towards Christ.

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I have to admit, we are still navigating what we think “no gifts at Christmas” needs to look like. How to be sensitive to others while following {and better understanding} our own convictions. It’s awkward, because I love giving gifts. Just little things, but something that shows my love for another. Jonathan suggested that we start focusing on gift-giving throughout the year. Spread the love to not just give in December, but feel free to give year round as we have people on our hearts.

So far, giving up gifts has been amazing. I’m not focused on myself or stressed about making sure Aunt Carol’s babysitter’s neighbor has her gift. I’m able to talk with the girls about Jesus, telling them how exciting it is to be leading up to His birthday. We are taking the money we normally spend on our family gifts and meeting the true needs of others with it. I have had a renewed love of traditional Christmas carols, singing of the coming of Christ, the longing for our Savior. Time after time, I have stood in awe of God’s amazing love for us. And that’s what Christmas is: celebrating Christ’s arrival and the end of our  separation from God.

10 Responses to "My Kids Won’t be Celebrating Christmas"

Dexter and I have been talking about this lately. I LOVE the idea, but I’m nervous about how to get it to work with family. I want Christmas to keep meaningful, enjoyable traditions, but I know that I have never succeeded at really focusing on Christ on Christmas. I’d love to hear how this goes for you and what you learn as you navigate your decision with respect to others.

Kelsey, what if you gave to a charity in their honor? Like buying a goat type charity. It is still gift giving in one sense, but it is more like a gift to Jesus on his birthday… “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Mt 25:40

Kelsey, I’ll keep you updated! Wendy, I like that idea, giving in honor of… But I wonder how people would feel, like if they were let down because they didn’t get what they wanted. Have you done this in the past? Did it work? I’d love to know!

I like the idea of giving charity gifts in honor, but for those in our family who aren’t believers, it wouldn’t be appreciated, and would end up doing more damage than good. With things like that, it can be very easy to come across looking like a self-righteous Christian to those who aren’t believers. If you’re involved in a Christmas exchange with your extended family and everyone else gets each other regular gifts, but you get your recipients charity gifts, you run the risk of just annoying a lot of people and having everyone hope that you don’t pick their name next year. I think it’s best to be as winsome as possible, even while sticking to whatever convictions God has given your particular family. Not always an easy line to navigate.

I do remember reading a blog a few years ago that was discussing Christmas traditions and one thing that really stuck with me was that they pointed out that celebrating Christmas isn’t a biblical command. We sometimes can act like it is and how it’s so important to focus on Christ this time of year, but really we should be focusing on Christ at all times of year. We have no biblical obligation to specifically honor Christ’s birth. Not that it’s a bad thing to do, but on the other hand, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to participate in some of the cultural aspects of Christmas without giving ourselves guilt on whether or not it is Christ focused, particularly when participating in those things are a way to reach out to our friends and family and love them. I had never really thought about that before, but I feel like it gives a lot of freedom for different believers to follow their own convictions in regards to the celebration of Christmas. There isn’t necessarily a right and a wrong way here. Just best to think through where God is leading your family. (Which, Sarah, it looks like you guys are definitely doing. My thoughts are in no way a critique of your decision, just what’s floating around in my head!)

I think that it would be an awesome gift (the goat giving type giifts) for anyone. If they are a believer, they will totally get it and if they are not, I would think they may initially be a little let down, but then I think they would have an opportunity to address their own ‘need’ for a gift and maybe, just maybe, see gift giving or Christmas in a new light.

Alicia – I agree with you on giving in honor of. Seems like a sticky road. And a good reminder that we are in no way commanded to celebrate Christmas. I think it would be hard to ignore the holiday, but we can not feel the Americanized effect of it.

And it’s totally every family for themselves. I just know my heart and where it tends to go in regard to this issue and I want to guard myself and family from that. It’s important for sure to be focusing on Christ throughout the year, as well as focusing on others. I had a friend ask once “Would you brush your teeth once a year and call it good?” Nope. So why would I do that to Christ?

My husband and I don’t have any kids of our own yet, but we’ve actually been talking a lot about this lately. About what we want Christmas to look like when we have kids. I will look forward to reading about you guys’ journey as you celebrate Christmas without gifts this year. 🙂

I love the idea of giftless Christmas. It’s something that we’re working towards in my little family 🙂

A friend of mine has implemented a different sort of gift-giving. Paige and her husband purchase “gifts” from the World Vision catalog in honor of one another. For example: Her husband really loves the Word, so they gifted two Bibles in other languages. Their daughter had some nutrition issues, so they gave care for an orphan in her name, because they’re so thankful to see her grow and flourish.

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