Somewhere around December 15th, Christmas stops seeming fun. There’s more to do than we have hours in the day. Fight the crowds. Purchase the gifts. Wrap the gifts. Spend an hour in line at the post office trying to mail the gifts. Address cards. Bake cookies. Send treats. And that’s just to take care of the people outside of your house. There’s still a frantic rush to make sure we have everything for the kids (let alone our spouse). Did you get the bleeping-blorping robot hovercraft your son wanted? Did you get it in the right color? What about the E-Z homecraft stained glass window kit your daughter is really hoping for? The one that has the converted lightbulb powered oven that melts the glass right there in your kitchen? No?!? ARGGGGH! I QUIT. I’m going to bed. Let me know when the New Year is here.
Sound familiar? Does your heart rate start steadily increasing from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day? If so, take five minutes and just sit down quietly. Preferably with a cup of tea. Christmas shouldn’t be driven by stuff. The obvious point is that Christmas is, first and foremost, a celebration of Christ’s birth and the tremendous joy which that brings. Christmas is also a time to come together as a family.
Sure, kids like stuff. I think most of us can remember the excitement of opening presents on Christmas morning. But what kids remember best are the family activities and traditions that surround Christmas. I can’t tell you exactly what presents I got as a kid on a year-by-year basis. There were some Transformers and GI Joe in there during the mid ‘80s, and I definitely got a sweet New Orleans Saints football when I was 10. But what I remember most clearly and fondly is how my family celebrated together.
I’d be lying if I told you that I’m doing this perfectly. I’m not. I still try to hustle the kids to bed early these days to try to squeeze out a few more minutes of pre-Christmas prep. But I don’t want those efforts to come at the expense of my wife and children. We want to do what’s reasonable, rather than over-extend ourselves so much that we’re miserable and cranky with each other starting on December 23rd.
This week, think about the things you can do as a family this holiday season and make a plan to directly connect with each person in your home for at least five minutes every day.
Merry Christmas from all of us at The Duck Effect.