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Simple Holidays – Placing Meaning Over Marketplace

As Thanksgiving and Christmas loom on the fast-approaching horizon, are you stunned to note that the holidays are here again? Wasn’t it just mid-summer a heartbeat ago? Didn’t you just finish paying for back-to-school shopping?

The Internet is quickly filling with hints and messages about handling holiday stress, gift-buying strategies in a difficult economy, and how to manage house-keeping and cooking chores in the coming weeks. Advertisements abound on every media outlet available, from your email inbox to the church bulletin. All are calls to spend, whether they cast a net for your money, your attention, or your time.

What was once a season of warmth, love, peace, and joy is now a commercial orgy that has expanded exponentially for decades. It is a perplexity that this winter season of endless gluttony is still called “Thanksgiving” and “Christmas” in many places.

Less is More

There is nothing special about anything, if everything is special. No one dish will be memorable if there is a mountain of food. There can be no gift that inspires true delight if it must compete with a herd of others. Precious memories are created by singular events. Mass quantities of food, gifts, and experiences offer no lasting value. They are nothing but trees that make up a forgettable forest.

Are family and friends a bit on the scrawny side? If so, plan to overload your table and fridge with fat and sugar-laden delicacies. If not, poll the family to identify the few most beloved treats and serve them once. When did artery-clogging menus and credit card bills that rival the national debt become symbols of love?

Teach your children how to build memories by providing lasting holiday memories for them. Create a family legacy of love and not debt. Spend your time with those you love, not shopping for those you love. Budget your scarce resources of time and energy with your family and not on your friends and family as the TV ads suggest you should.

Which memory is more dear to a child, a walk in the snow with Grandpa or rushing off to the bedroom to play the cool new video game? Did you ever notice how well trimmed the backyard was when you tossed a football with your cousins?

The Greatest Gifts – Time and Gratitude

There is no substitute for time spent together. And where else in the world will your children learn gratitude if not at home? No matter what you heard, you can’t buy love. All you can buy is momentary attention.

Simplify your holidays this year by choosing to love your family. A pile of gifts and mounds of food isn’t love. Such things only teach lessons of greed and gluttony, and obscure the true intent of holiday celebrations.

Thanksgiving is a holiday of gratitude for all that has been provided for us. It is not a competition of culinary excess.

Christmas reminds us that all who believe the message of Bethlehem’s Star will one day occupy a mansion in heaven.

Just as the sculptor removes all from his block of marble that does not belong to the ultimate work; remove everything from your holiday plans that do not belong to your ultimate work of loving your family and celebrating the reason for the season – Jesus Christ.