Our One-Gift Christmas

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Recently I wrote a post with some ideas to dematerialize Christmas amidst our current culture of consumerism. At the time, we still hadn't completely decided what we wanted to do as a family, but we knew we wanted to set some healthy traditions for the future.

Yesterday, we experienced our first Christmas morning in which our firstborn was somewhat cognizant of what was going on. Elias is about a year and a half old (20 months yesterday). He doesn't yet understand that it's really about Jesus's birth and the gift that God gave to all of humanity—although he will smile and rock his folded arms excitedly anytime he hears the word "baby" and fold his hands to pray when he hears the name "Jesus." He did come to quickly understand that a wrapped present contains a surprise, which made yesterday fun.

As Elias gets older and is joined by other growing siblings, we'll adopt some new traditions as a family when they can grasp the concepts. We both loved some of those more meaningful traditions to start that were in that blog post. In the meantime, Amber and I decided on the "one gift" idea and had it ready for him to experience as soon as he woke up on Christmas morning. He was SO excited—a car mat with wooden cars and a small train track. It literally stopped him in his tracks on his way through the living room! We made it clear that it was from Mama and Daddy and Elias thanked us. He played with his new set off and on all day with such joy (and occasional frustration when the train would derail the tracks). Amber and I also exchanged one gift to each other.

In addition to the gift portion of the morning, we made a healthy breakfast to enjoy together and will continue a tradition we began a couple years ago of going for a hike the day after Christmas. I should note, Elias did also receive a couple gifts from grandparents and aunts/uncles, which we opened very gradually throughout the entire day. (He was much too interested in each new thing and wanted to play with it before stopping to open something else.)

Overall, we had a very enjoyable, stress-free, meaning-centered Christmas celebration as a family. This gives us encouragement and hope for distraction-free, non-material Christmas celebrations in the future. 

How about you? What a privilege we have to celebrate Jesus's birth so freely here in this country. How were you able to successfully keep Jesus in the center of Christmas within your family this year?

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