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Change the Way You Celebrate Christmas

Updated on September 20, 2011

I'm sure everyone has their own traditions for holidays (even if it is watching horror films on Christmas day.) Traditions are great, however sometimes breaking tradition can be a very fulfilling experience.

Last year my family and I experienced a serious financial hardship. We had to foreclose on the home we had lived in for twenty years, our dog of fourteen years had passed away and we had absolutely no money to spend on anything extra. Our spirits were low and the Christmas season didn't seem to matter. We sold all of our Christmas decorations in a yard sale, so Christmas wasn't going to happen (and the tree wouldn't have fit in our new apartment anyways.) I was embarrassed when people would ask anything about Christmas and I had a hard time facing all of my friends and family members that I normally bought gifts for. A few friends knew what was going on and reached out to help. Before I knew it a small pre-lit tree was left on our doorstep. And that one act of kindness gave me an idea. My birthday happens to be two days before Christmas so I had received some extra money. I went out got some food and a couple of gifts for my mother. She had the hardest time with it; every year she was able to buy great gifts and this was the first time she couldn't afford to buy anyone anything. So when Christmas day came and when she saw her gifts she was over taken with emotion. It was then I realized that it truly is the small things that make holidays memorable. Most people probably can't remember half the gifts they received last Christmas.

We all preach that Christmas isn't about the gifts, but that isn't always true. Next time you're planning your Christmas get together take a moment to reflect on what really is important to you. Whether it be going to school plays, helping out at food drives, or just being with your family. The gifts, decorations, and food is great. It's awesome. But if those aren't things you can afford it's definitely not a bad thing. After Christmas when everyone is talking about the gifts they received and you have to tell them you didn't receive anything, it doesn't have to be a depressing conversation. I'm sure you received a level of enlightenment that no gift or meal will give you.

Are your Christmas experiences always traditional?

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    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Selling our home and living in our RV full time meant that there was no longer room for traditional Christmas decorations. We gave up a traditional Christmas in favor of a very simple holiday celebration. Calling our family, listening to holiday music, sending out a holiday newsletter and going to campground pot luck dinners took the place of many gifts and weeks of holiday cooking. We find that we enjoy our more simple Christmas very much.