I come from a family of nine and every year at our house Christmas was absolutely crazy. Presents were overflowing from under the Christmas tree and my poor mom was probably stressed to the max from all the shopping, wrapping and all the other Christmas responsibilities she had.
One year, my parents sat us all down and told us that how we celebrated Christmas would be changing. My selfish pre-teen self got really worried that I wasn't going to get everything I wanted for Christmas, but as my parents explained the new approach to Christmas my heart softened.
My mom retold us the story of the nativity, of Christ's birth. When Jesus Christ was born the shepherds and the wise men traveled to bring the Christ child gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. She emphasized that on the one of the most important days in history Christ received three gifts. She went on to explain that from now on we would each receive three Christmas gifts, just as many as Christ had been given.
She explained that we would each be given one gift from our parents, one from the boys and one from the girls. My mom wasn't going to be the only one shopping anymore either. We would all go out and the girls and boys would split off and shop for each other. That way each person thought about what they were getting each other and it helped make things more personal and less commercial.
The logistics of who would buy presents for whom, definitely took some of the stress off of my mom, and helped us from drowning in things we didn't need, but this new plan did a lot more than that. It brought the Christmas season back to the Savior.
When I would think of all the things I wanted and how I could only pick three; instead of being annoyed I was reminded that this isn't a season of getting. It's not even a season of giving. It's a season of thankfulness and admiration for the one person who walked this earth in complete perfectness. Who died so that I could be forgiven of my sins. It was a time to celebrate his life and message and to spread that to everyone around me, which I tried to do when I would explain to my friends how we only got three gifts each year.
I'm so thankful for my parent's decision to change our focus on Christmas from getting everything on our wish lists to praising Jesus Christ.
What traditions does your family have to help keep Christ at the center of your holidays?