Christmas Holiday Values

After my experience last week of Black Friday and Cyber week I realised that for me the true spirit of Christmas is being overshadowed by the material consumerism. I decided to take some time and think about (a) how to bring about my child-like wonder and magic of Christmas, and (b) the true meaning of Christmas and the values it brings to the time of year.

I feel that now that I have my own family I needed to have some guidelines to follow. I didn’t want the true Christmas message to disappear and so I created a Christmas holiday values manifesto that I will pull out each year. The list will be something we can refer to as a family when the children are older. For now they would be held by myself and my husband.

Our Christmas Holiday values manifesto 

We will make Christmas meaningful and about more than material gifts and treats. We will teach our children the true meaning of Christmas as well as the spiritual values that we have around this time. With the hectic pace of everyday life Christmas will be a time where we slow down, unwind and appreciate what we have in our lives.

We will acknowledge that the importance of family, friends, giving and gratitude, and caring about the world around us is the biggest gift that we as parents can give our children.

We will also:

Share the true message – The story of Jesus’s birth, retelling the story and having festive decorations and ornaments that symbolise the Christmas story: a nativity set, books with the Christmas story. We will do this so that we remember the essence of the Christmas story.

Spending time together as a family  – Not booking in too much; keeping it simple; share the reasons why we love each other and value each other; have fun together by playing games and watching movies; have more relaxation, and take time to eat together as a family and go out together as a family over this holiday period.

Teaching and practicing gratitude –  Take time to appreciate all that we have; share what we are grateful for, not just at Christmas but throughout the year. Inspire our children to be thankful for all the wonderful gifts they have received at this time and also to be thankful for the non-material gifts they are blessed with such as family and friends.

Spread Christmas joy with Random acts of kindness – Practice giving and sharing with people we know and don’t know, to our friends and charities that give to people in need. Make an effort to appreciate friends and family not just through gifts but thoughtful acts.

Slow and simple – Decrease stress and Christmas anxiety by remembering to stop, pause, and breathe. Let us appreciate the simple things in life and slow down and take stock of what the values of Christmas are all about.

What family values do you wish to share at Christmas time? The website I used to get organised last year and which has a guide to help each year to keep your values in check is  Organised Christmas.

Here are some questions from their worksheet:

What values will your family’s celebration serve? Bring the season into focus by answering these questions about last year’s events. Use a second sheet to record responses from a family meeting.

1. What went well for your family last year? Did you make innovations that made you more organized, calmer, and more centered?

2. What stresses did your family face? Were there too many activities on the calendar? Did household systems fall apart with the season’s faster pace?

3. Was your family spiritually invigorated by the holiday celebration? Did you participate in appropriate service, worship or giving activities?

4. Did inappropriate influences enter your home? Were decorating, clothing or gift-buying decisions motivated by competitiveness or insecurity? Was the celebration over-focused on gifts and getting? Did the hectic pace of the season take precedence over family closeness, family values?

5. What would you have done differently?

Next time I will be looking at the Christmas holiday traditions we have and would like to focus on. These new traditions will be created from our heart and carried forward each year bringing a sense of meaning and spirituality that can often get lost in the external  pressures of Christmas.

5 thoughts on “Christmas Holiday Values

  1. What a wonderful manifesto. And so smart of you to write it down so you can refer to it, specially when holiday pressures push at you. When I was a child my grandparents really overdid the gifts. I ended up crying every Christmas because I was so overwhelmed. As a mom, I was afraid I might duplicate this pattern, so my husband and I came up with a solution we all still love — each Christmas we give our children 3 gifts. It was our thought that if 3 gifts were good enough for the baby Jesus, that was good enough for our kids! Some years we spent more (I remember a 10 speed bike, and an American Girl doll), some years less. One year I fudged it by having “1” of the gifts be a couple books or computer programs wrapped together. My oldest chastised me for going over the limit! I like sharing this tradition because it worked so well for us. I know yours will work well for you too.
    Merry Christmas,
    ~Marilee

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    • Marilee, I really enjoyed reading about your Christmas traditions. I am an only Chid and I remember being overwhelmed with all the gifts I got too. I also remember the strong feeling of guilt for having so much more than my friends who had lots of siblings. I agree we all need to make sure we don’t spoil our children and ensure they have the values of gratitude. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas too.

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  2. I love this Dawn, especially the Teaching and Practicing of Gratitude; something we should try to do every day. Thanks for the link to the Holiday Values Worksheet. I’m going to give it a whirl!

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  3. Pingback: Christmas overwhelm! | dawned upon

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