When Jesus was born, the wise men came to the stable bringing gifts. So it's now a Christmas tradition to exchange gifts - and this tradition can be stressful for many of us. You may feel inadequate, not having enough ideas or money to express your love through gifts. And you may also shun Christmas because the commercialism can be so distasteful.
Yet there are ways to celebrate a meaningful Christmas:
1. Make Christmas about volunteering. This is a true gift you give to your children when you encourage them to get involved in volunteering, as well. Your local food banks and soup kitchens are always seeking volunteers and donations, especially around Christmas. Buy gifts for children in need through programs offered at most churches, Toys for Tots, Samaritan's Purse, and Angel Tree. Teach your children to give money to the Salvation Army bell-ringers, and take your children shopping with you to select gifts for underprivileged children.
2. Give a charitable donation. One of my favorite gifts that I ever received, was from my son Grant who gave me a start-up Kiva Fund account. Kiva is a charity which helps small businesses with loans. You loan the money with a small administration fee, and Kiva keeps track of repayment. You can designate what type of business you want to help and where. Virtually every charity allows you to gift a donation, and many will include a gift card for you to share with those on your gift list. Just be sure to check out Charity Navigator to insure that you're only working with reliable charities where the majority of donations go toward their cause and not their operating expenses and salaries.
3. Make your Christmas eco-friendly. It's a gift that you give to future generations to be respectful of the environmental impact of gift wrapping paper and packaging. One of my favorite ways to wrap gifts is by putting them into colorful reusuable shopping bags such as the red and green Chico Bags. That way, the wrapping is a gift itself! You also help the environment when you choose eco-friendly wrapping paper and cards.
4. Remember the Reason for the Season. I find attending church services to be one of the best way to manage stress AND to draw closer to God. Since Christmas is a celebration of Jesus's birth and the story of the Messiah coming to earth to save us, let's remember Christ in Christmas. My very favorite gift that I ever received was also from my son Grant: The One Year Bible, which is an encouraging way to read the entire Bible daily.
5. Keep Christmas simple. Let your family know that you'll be exhanging home-made gifts, or agree to keep the gifts at a reasonable budget. It's not about flaunting how much money you spent, it's about showing that you care. If you don't know what to buy for a gift, you can pray for inspiration. You can also remember those conversations where your loved one expressed a wish for something. I've also put together a list of my recommended gifts here: https://www.amazon.com/shop/DoreenVirtue
Ultimately, as Mother Teresa so eloquently said: "It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving."
May you and your loved ones enjoy a very Meaningful and Merry Christmas!