I love Christmas Eve. It’s probably my favorite day of the year, even over Christmas Day. When I was growing up, on Christmas Eve we always ate Senate Bean Soup, Peppermint punch and as many Christmas cookies as we could stand. Then my sister and I entertained the family with our annual Christmas program of music, Scripture reading, jokes and the occasional lip sync song and dance. After all that, the gift giving began. It always took at least an hour for everyone to open gifts….and I love that! The giver would find their gift under the tree, and hand it to the recipient. We all watched as the gift was opened, followed by squeals of delight and almost always a kiss or hug for the giver. It was a warm, loving and fun family event!
This year I operated on a pretty slim Christmas gift budget (my husband and I live on a strictly cash budget). I carefully chose an item or two for each of my family members and wrapped it with paper and ribbon left over from Christmases past. The only “big” gift is a surprise gift for my husband that I paid for over the past couple months. I’m pretty sure he has no idea and I can’t wait to surprise him! I felt pretty good about the gifts I’d chosen for my family….until I discovered the holiday gift guides on blogs and YouTube channels.
After I watched and read the lists of beautiful gifts that others had purchased for their families, I began to feel so guilty that I hadn’t stuffed stockings full of Essie nail polish and iTunes gift cards. I felt cheap for giving my family one or two gifts each instead of showering them with piles of luxurious things. Have you ever felt that way?
I was then reminded of the gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men in Matthew 2. The Bible says they opened their treasures. When we think of giving, we almost always associate it with money. However, there are so many other things we can give.
- Hard work
Without those things, I don’t believe my memories of Christmas Eve would be so wonderful. It wasn’t the money spent on piles of gifts that made those Christmas Eves so memorable. If I spend hundreds of dollars and shower my family with luxurious gifts…and then spend the whole day fighting, what good is that? (I’m not saying that families who give lots of gifts automatically hate eachother. You know what I mean.)
I’ve decided to give my family the gift of my treasures this Christmas. I want to love them by being patient, kind, understanding and forgiving (which is SO much more challenging for me than hitting the mall on Christmas Eve, I promise!). Maybe next year I can buy my mom a Kate Spade purse. But for now I’ll choose to focus on what really matters and not on the piles of presents others were able to buy.
If you stuck with me to the end of this very long post, thanks! Happy Christmas Eve!