Once upon a time, there was a greedy puppy who had a steak. He was walking along when he came to a glassy pond. He peered into the pond and saw the puppy with the steak. He went to grab the steak from the other puppy and lost his steak in the pond. That's the story of the greedy puppy.
The moral of this story is to be happy with what you have.
How does this tie into a simply simple Christmas? Out of all the things that exist during the holiday season, there are those people who will lose sight of what they have in order to get what they don't need....just like that greedy puppy.
In a small town in Boston, many, many, many years ago, (1669 to be exact) the Puritans decided to abolish Christmas after they saw how instead of the celebrating the birth of Jesus, people became selfish and out of control. For 22 years, Christmas was abolished and December 25th was a day like any other day.
My mind wandered as I thought about this. Was the celebration missed? Did people feel like there was something missing in their lives because they were Christmas-less? In my opinion, it would be like knowing that someone special's birthday was on that particular day but not being able to acknowledge or celebrate the specialness that that person brings to your life.
They basically lost their focus!
If that time existed now, I'd be a bit...no, more than a bit, I'd be totally bummed. No celebrating Christ's birth? No Christmas carols? No time to spend with family and friends? No opportunities to give and to do random acts of kindness? What about the joy and excitement that fills the air? Would that be gone as well?
I have to admit though, that I wouldn't miss the commercialism of Christmas. It's gotten way out of control. In West Virginia, a dear man had a heart attack on Black Friday and while he lay on the floor in Target, people stepped over him to get the best deals. That's pathetic and sad.
I want to feel Christ in my Christmas. I want to feel the joy of knowing that there's so much more to Christmas than wanting and getting. The greatest joy is in giving...and giving comes in many ways.
A few years ago, I gave a few ideas about keeping Christmas simple and some of this will be a repeat but here goes...
1) Make it special by MAKING something special. I would much rather have something made by my family and friends than something bought. Just knowing that time and effort was spent to put a smile on my face is priceless.
2) Start a family tradition. When my daughters were young, I started a Christmas craft/sleepover for them. They got to choose one friend to invite. I found ornament ideas and of course, the finale was each of them making their very own gingerbread house. They also played games like "snowball/cotton ball races" and had a whipped cream fight (outside of course). Now that my daughters are older and I have a son in law and soon to be son in law and bonus kids, and of course, my J, we're going to get together and have a blast making ornaments, singing Christmas carols and just spending time together.
3) Look for ways to do random acts of kindness for the next 21 days, leading up to Christmas. Write a journal of each "RAOC" to look back on the very next year.
4) As a family, vote for someone that has been influential or a very important part of your life as a family for this year. Make a card declaring them the "person of the year" and give them a special gift, telling them how much they've meant to you as a family throughout the year. It can be a teacher, pastor, post man, hair dresser....anyone that has brought joy into your life in a special way.
5) On the night before Christmas, go for a Christmas light drive. The house that you as a family vote for as being "the best" will be given a card (left at their doorstep) and food donated to a homeless shelter in their honor.
6) When baking cookies and candy, make an extra platter to take to an assisted living or homeless shelter.
7) Have a thrifty gift giving Christmas. The rule is that anything you buy must be bought at a thrift store. Not only do you save money but also come up with some pretty interesting and unique gifts.
8) Give the gift of yourself. If you know of someone that needs help with carpooling kiddos to dance practice or babysitting or mowing the lawn, give them personalized gift certificates.
9) For a family that loves ice cream for instance, give them a basket with an ice cream scoop, dishes and ice cream and a certificate for a flavor to be delivered to them each month for the next 12 months.
10) Go in search of items that you either have doubles of (coffee pots, plants, toys, books, shoes....etc.) and have a swap right before Christmas. You may be surprised that someone is willing to give up a never used Wii system for an electronic keyboard that hasn't been played.
Most of all....keep it simple, sweetie! KISS!!