A few years ago, I remember going through my 7-year-old son’s backpack and finding an egg carton with little objects in each cavity. One by one, I began to take them out and study them — a tree twig, a plastic star, a ladder made from toothpicks and so on. When I asked him for an explanation, he told me all about the “Jesse tree” that he created in class.
Are you and your group of friends just starting out and wondering if you can afford to do a gift exchange? Why not try this — do away with friend gifts altogether! Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas without material gifting.
1. Adopt a family together. Why not grab an angel or two from the tree at church and spend an evening shopping for the child or family? This allows you to spend time together while helping others feel loved in the process.
God loves us so much that he decided not just to save us, but to do it by becoming one of us. Although we know that Jesus — God among us — is the reason for the season, it’s easy to get caught up in parties, gifts, greeting cards and baking. Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy a meaningful Christmas season:
• Ask family members what is most important to them about your family’s traditions. If your daughter thinks homemade cookies are a must, she is on for making them or helping you bake.
• Don’t overschedule yourself with entertaining and parties.
There are four levels of satisfaction you can mindfully appreciate, in ascending order of fulfillment:
1. Stuff - Appreciate that your work generates money. Money has its rewards — like food, clothing and shelter.
2. Self - If you do your work well, take pleasure in your accomplishments, no matter how modest they seem.
3. Others - To the degree that you interact with colleagues or customers, make every effort to love and serve them.
An Irish lullaby that I loved singing to my children includes lyrics that reflect the underlying aspects of your concern. Cáislean Droma Mhor includes the phrase, “Take heed young eaglet, till thy wings are feathered fit to soar.” As parents, we know that eventually our children will be leaving the nest and soaring into their own futures. An adult child returning to the nest can be challenging for both generations.