Changing Christmas

Maybe it’s just me, but for the last several years Christmas has become stressful. It’s become a time where I feel as though I spend the month running around trying to pull miracles out of my armpit, the true meaning of Christmas lost as I worry about being able to somehow create another holiday full of happiness.

It is seriously time for me to change Christmas.  While I know I’ve talked about this before, I need to make some changes as continuing this way is starting to actually affect my health.

My family knows I’ve been working through a serious rough patch where things I believed had to be done in just the right way, the same way everyone else did them, shorted some emotional circuits and knocked me on my butt.   I haven’t shared everything that has been going on here, some things are just too personal to send into the internets for all to pronounce judgement on.

The bottom line is that the change has got to be within me. And I have to be brave enough to embrace that change.   Let’s face it, the first Christmas was nothing in keeping with “the way things are done” with today’s Christmas time.  No days worth of decorating.  No money and time spent on finding just the right gift.  No worrying about not having money for gifts.  No angst that our neighbor gifts aren’t as Pinterest worthy as someone else’s.

A little boy with Down syndrome

A little boy with Down syndrome

Instead the first Christmas found the shepherds witnessing the most marvelous event in history and becoming the very first missionaries.  Wisemen from the East found the fulfillment of their dreams.   And not the least of these, Mary and Joesph found that they could trust God’s grace to be sufficient for all their needs.

Trusting God’s grace to be sufficient for all our needs.  This.  This is what my heart yearns for.  And it’s totally up to me.

What sort of marvelous things could we discover if we were bold and brave enough to let go of old traditions and instead venture off into uncharted territory during the holidays?  What if we faced the future with hearts and hands open to all the possibilities He might bring our way, even if those possibilities didn’t include expensive presents or the last minute running around for just one more bit of stuff.

My sweet Visiting Teachers shared an article with me yesterday.  It ended with this prayer:  Lord, help me to be unafraid when You bring changes into my life.  May I face them with grace and faith, knowing You are with me each step of the way. 

I’m going to use this prayer as a guide for my life.  And I’m going to begin with changing Christmas for me and my family.  But first I’m going to need to change myself. 

What about you?  How do you feel about Christmas in these times?  How do you balance the commercialism and the true meaning of the season?  How do you take a modest budget and make it include this holiday? 


About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. We specifically limit the number of gifts we buy – one per person, and only for the kids. Christmas is the grandparents’ holiday, not so much ours, which I suspect makes things a little different, but we’re finding that taking the pressure of gifts off everyone makes us focus more on the people and the experiences, rather than the things.

    The grandparents send oodles of gifts into a home already overflowing with the things they’ve already given, and the kids don’t even play with most of them. This year, our plan is to donate at least 1/4-1/3 of the things they ignore, because I’m tired of cleaning up.

  2. Christine says:

    Since my daughter was born we have not spent December at home. Every year we end up in the hospital around December 10 and stay through at least the 23rd. Darn winter viruses. It has forced me to look at Christmas differently. We don’t have time for decorating and all the fanfare.

    One of the things I started doing years ago was instead of giving Christmas gifts to our non family list, so people like the kids teachers, my coworkers and the neighbors We started giving thanksgiving gifts. Usually we make pumpkin pies the weekend before thanksgiving and deliver the in the days after. This year we did pumpkin bread instead we also made peppermint bark nicely wrap them up and include a note that says something along the lines of….

    As is our family tradition we give our holiday gifts at Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. During this season of thankfulness we remember those close to us who we are most thankful for. This allows us to focus on the real meaning of the holiday season and truly celebrate the present of HIS presence in our lives. Happy holidays.

    I have found pumpkin pie easy to do in bulk. Pretty cheap. And Very well received. Gifting at Thanksgiving also really helps spread out the cost and drastically reduces my stress level. We have done this the last 6 years and no one has ever complained. Most of our close friends really look forward to the tradition we have created. Traditions have to start somewhere right?

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