We’ve been conditioned by our consumer culture that Christmas is a time for giving gifts – lots and lots of gifts. If you believe the advertisements flooding the airwaves, the key to a happy holiday season is buying just the right thing. It’s imperative that you rush right out and splurge on something for everyone on your list. If you don’t, you’ve got the heart of a Grinch and the mindset of Scrooge.
Please! Christmas is about so much more than baubles and trinkets brought home from the store. We’ve already experienced one of the greatest gifts of all time through Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, so there’s no need to try and live up to that with wrapping paper and ribbons. Christmas is not a competition. You don’t have to feel guilty if you’re not having the consumer-driven, secular Christmas extravaganzas that they show on TV. There’s a marketing agenda there not even the rich maintain. Instead, you’ll get more out of this Christmas season if you make the choice to give less “things” and get more of what really matters in your life.
A Spirit Of Hope & Gratitude
The biggest blow the economic recession has dealt to the American public is allowing an attitude of despondency and depression to take root. Most of us know there isn’t going to be a happily ever after for our national government, up to its eyeballs in debt. We realize that the good old days probably aren’t going to come back in the same way. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to just give up.
Instead, this holiday season stop focusing on the things the market wants you to believe matter most. Forget stocks, real estate, and material possessions. Those things are fleeting, passing tokens of this life. A better investment of your time and energy would be spent in cultivating a spirit of hope and gratitude.
We have hope for tomorrow because our tomorrows are not wrapped up in tinsel and shiny paper. We have the hope of Jesus Christ and the strength of our friends and families. We have the intelligence to be preparing for an independent future and the means to take care of ourselves. We have so much to be grateful for in our own gifts there’s no need to long after momentary status symbols. Yes, there are things it would be nice to have. However, we have so much that we know we can be grateful for the gifts we have already received and hopeful for the ultimate gift we will receive in the future.
Time Spent Giving Back
Another way to make Christmas 2011 something different is by taking more time to give back to those less fortunate. Participating in charity drives or serving as a volunteer will open your eyes to the amazing generosity of the American people. Just when you think that we’ve all become selfish, greedy little punks, your friends, neighbors, and even total strangers will blow you away with what they are willing to do for someone else.
Giving back does more than just help other people, although that is an important aspect. It also serves as a way for you to take your mind off any troubles of your own and get some perspective on your situation. The time focused on someone else and the spirit of community that thrives during these events will be something that soothes and lifts your soul throughout the holiday season.
Happy Memories to Treasure
Last but not least, you can get more out of Christmas 2011 by making it about the memories instead of the things. While there may be one or two gifts we’ll always remember, what most of us treasure about our Christmases past is the time we spent with family and friends playing games, watching seasonal movies, or spending time in fellowship with one another.
Make your gift to your loved ones a block of your undivided attention. No cell phones, no Internet, and no TV. Spend time wholly present in the moment, relishing family time together. There are chores and worries for tomorrow, but those things can wait. Set aside a time to celebrate the season together and build memories of happy times shared with good friends and close family to lift you up in the years to come.
We’re conditioned by our culture to make Christmas a commercial event, but it doesn’t have to be. For Christmas 2011, give less of what the world says you need and get more of what you really should have in your life. Cultivate a grateful, hopeful heart, give back to your fellow man, and spend time making happy memories with those you love the most. It will make Christmas 2011 one you will remember for years to come for all the right reasons.
©2011 Off the Grid News