Yep, we all hear it every year, “Christmas is about giving rather than receiving.” Is that what you were told as a child? Is that what you tell your children now? I beg to differ. As Clevelanders there are so many events and activities that we can do for free, there really isn’t a need to “buy” everything, is there?
Now does that mean that Christmas is only about the gifts you receive? Absolutely NOT! As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite. In this day and age, no matter how much money you have (or don’t have), whether you have enough money to buy gifts or have enough money to buy a tree, you can always GIVE rather than receive. And you can do it for little to no money.
If you are a parent, do you remember you glistening in your childs’ eyes the first time he/she went and saw a real-live Santa? That was one of the greatest gifts you could give your child and it didn’t cost you a penny. When I think of Christmas I think of traditions rather than actual gifts that I’ve received along the way. Sure, there are a few gifts that were exciting enough to never forget, but it is truly the love and traditions that were set forth as a child that I remember most.
Here are a few ideas for traditions to start this year with your family that are sure to make Christmas a wonderful time no matter how much is under the tree on Christmas morning:
- Invite your neighbors/family over for a cookie exchange. Have everyone bring 2 dozen cookies. All you have to supply are napkins and some hot chocolate. Spend the evening enjoying each others company
- Take your family for a drive once a week to view the Christmas lights in your neighborhood (or take a walk)
- The day you put your tree up, have a Family Slumber party under the tree – make popcorn and everyone can string popcorn then sleeping under the twinkling lights
- Have a Holiday Themed movie marathon. Maybe the weekend before Christmas each year – or the night you put up the tree during your Christmas Slumber Party
- As a family, pick a “cause” that means something to your family. Then one day just before Christmas spend the day donating your time to that cause. Challenge each family member to gather items that are “like new” that they no longer want and donate the items
- Is there one ornament in your collection that you adore and everyone else hates? After decorating the tree, play “find the ornament.” You can hide it and whoever finds it wins a prize – maybe they get to pick that nights dinner
The theme here is that Christmas really isn’t about the presents. It is about the feelings we get from everything that is associated with Christmas. You are creating memories for yourself and for those around you.