Have a More Meaningful Christmas

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Anonymous, Eng, Lynn

Christmas is a special time of the year when love and peace pervade homes and the hearts of people. It conjures images of bountiful Christmas dinners and exchanging of gifts, of sparkling colored lights and roaring fireplaces. People travel thousands of miles to be with their families to spend time together. Who doesn't want that kind of traditional white Christmas, especially when you have kids whom you want to surround with Christmas things that you had as a child?

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Yet, with so much suffering around the world, isn't it more befitting to teach them ways to have a more meaningful Christmas?

Falling back to doing what one usually does is comfortable and yes, complacent. Changing one's habits or finding ways to do things differently is more challenging. But if you want to give more meaning to your Christmas, you need to get out of your comfort zone, take a bold step forward and use your imagination.

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December is such a good month to start embracing the challenge as it offers countless opportunities to share lessons in faith and kindness. Regardless of who you are, what you have, and what you do, you can have a more meaningful Christmas.

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Charity Begins at Home: Have a Simple Christmas

Christmas is and will always be magical. But, it is wrong to think that it has to be excessive for it to be meaningful. For a meaningful, but inexpensive Christmas, it takes a little more effort and a lot of creativity. If you want your kids to appreciate the real meaning of Christmas, you have to do more than just buy expensive gifts and laden your table with too much celebratory dishes.

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So this Christmas, teach your children charity. Show your kids how love can be shared with those who are less fortunate. Here are some tips for you:

  1. 1
    Meet up and plan with the family.
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    Rather than shop without planning and assuming it will be just like the other Christmases, why not put your heads together to plan Christmas? Ask the children how they want to spend Christmas day. Do they want to sing carols with the other kids on the block? Or do they want to cook up a simple dinner that they can take to a family down the road whose father in the military was reported missing?
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  2. 2
    Suggest meaningful activities.
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    Depending on the age of your kids, think of activities that they can share with others and which they can enjoy at the same time. You do not want to coerce them or impose on them. Suggesting and hinting are more persuasive. Let them meet some of the homeless you spend a few hours each week when you help in a soup kitchen. Watch with them videos of people demolished by typhoons who need help.
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  3. 3
    Set a budget.
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    Gift-giving has become "automatic." This makes every person spend so much money on gifts. If giving gifts is something you can't do away with, what about setting a budget and a theme for this Christmas? If you want to give gifts, choose something that the recipient has a need for or make the gift yourself. The value of a gift goes beyond its price. DIY and handmade gifts are far more precious than what money can buy.
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  4. 4
    Give meaningful gifts.
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    You can also opt to buy "alternative gifts like cards from UNICEF or crafts from alternative markets where the proceeds go to some charitable or marginalized groups. This way, you are not just gifting a friend or a family; you are also sharing your blessings with other needy people.
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  5. 5
    Teach sharing by practice.
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    Ask the kids and every family member what they have to share with the less fortunate. Round up what each can share, such as toys and clothes that they want other kids to have. The kids can also talk about saving their school money to buy something for the kids in an orphanage or in the neighborhood. Part of your budget for Christmas dinner can also be shared with these needy children, or do some other forms of charity.
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  6. 6
    Raise funds for charity.
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    Not having enough money is never a problem. Months before Christmas, your family can talk about raising funds for your Christmas project. You can collect newspapers and other recyclables that you can sell for cash. The kids can do odd jobs and errands for neighbors and save their earnings in a piggy bank. Selling lemonades and fruits from the backyard are a classic. By Christmas, the money can be donated to charity or be used to buy gifts for the sick.
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Cutting Expenses This Christmas

With an ever volatile economy and a world full of starving people, it feels senseless to be splurging on material things this Christmas. If you want to save money this holiday, there are so many practical ways; here are some of them:

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  1. 1
    Be savvy about Christmas decorations.
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    Can't' say no to new decorations? Use what you already have from Christmases past. If you want to update them, look around the house for what you already have. Bring out the artist in you; with a few ribbons, laces, bright sequins and such, make art.
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  2. 2
    Look for a smaller tree this year if you like it fresh.
    Otherwise, you can always go for an artificial tree that you can reuse each December. Store away Christmas tree decorations well so that they will look new, year after year.
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  3. 3
    Buy gifts only for the children.
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    You must have heard it so many times, "Christmas is for children." If you want your kids to experience the kind of Christmas you had when you were a young kid, make the Christmas magical for them in a "planned" but ingenious way. Bigger kids who don't believe in Santa Claus anymore won't mind if they just get simple tokens.
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  4. 4
    Agree on not exchanging gifts this Christmas.
    Companies, organizations and groups may make a pact about not exchanging gifts this year. Some may just go for a simple get together with a simple fare and lots of games and fun activities to make the occasion still feel grand and festive.
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  5. 5
    Use recycled papers to wrap your gifts.
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    Better yet, gift each other with recycled gifts. If your friend likes your baseball cap so much, wrap it up for him. If your little sister has been begging to borrow your trinket to play dress up, put it in a cute box and tie it up with a pink ribbon. Use your imagination; there are indeed so many ways to make loved ones happy with what you already have.
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  6. 6
    Create a simple but elegant dinner for your friends.
    You will spend less if you will just host a Christmas dinner for your friends. Some of them may even bring something so that they need not gift each one of you too. Depending on your age group, some fun things can be arranged so that you will still end up having a fun and meaningful Christmas without spending going overboard.
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  7. 7
    Buy one gift for the family.
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    Rather than buy each family member a gift, why not buy one gift that the entire family can enjoy and share, like classical DVDs of movies, concerts and sports that you all love. What about a karaoke sing-along system if your family love singing. Imagine bonding with everyone on occasions like Christmas, birthdays and weekends.
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  8. 8
    Take advantage of freebies and sales before Christmas.
    If you can't be stopped from spending to buy Christmas gifts, buy months earlier from closing out sales and such. You can build your inventory of gifts throughout the year and start packing them with vintage and recycled fabrics, papers and ribbons just before Christmas.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  1. 1
    You may have not noticed it, but Christmas is a very stressful and expensive occasion with so many parties to attend, gifts to shop for and wrap, and foods to prepare.
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  2. 2
    Having a simple Christmas and cutting down on costs means you have to start early.
    This means that the tasks are spread over more months, weeks and days. This is indeed less stressful. In fact, it lets you enjoy Christmas preparations more.
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  3. 3
    If you want to have a more meaningful Christmas, it has to be imbibed in the culture of your family for it to succeed.
    This is indeed a significant activity that brings together families.
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Truly, "charity begins at home." For such a long, long time people have been so wrapped up in celebrating Christmas in a commercialized tradition and fashion. With so many people suffering this Christmas, it just doesn't feel right to celebrate the holidays in an ostentatious manner.

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This year, Christmas will still be magical. But this time, it has nothing to do with Santas and giant Christmas trees. Rather, the magic of Christmas is coming from billions of people genuinely wishing each other a merrier Christmas.

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Article Info

Categories : Holidays & Traditions | Relationships

Recent edits by: Eng, Anonymous, Nerissa Avisado

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