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December 23, 2008
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Christmas has become a very commercial holiday. Rushing around to buy presents, people tend to forget the true meaning of Chistmas. Aside from big dinners and expensive gifts,there are other ways to celebrate that reflect the true meaning of the holiday, and give the gifts to the One whose birthday it is! And even if you aren't a Christian, you can still celebrate the season in your own way.

A Religious Celebration

  1. Reflect on the reason for Christmas by doing some research. In the Bible, you can find the Christmas story in the book of Luke, Chapters 1 and 2. Consider reading these chapters aloud as part of your family's holiday.
  2. Choose some activities that you and your friends or family will enjoy which fit with the meaning of Christmas and are also socially enjoyable. Consider preparing some special foods for the poor and needy, as well as giving gifts to people you know.
  3. Learn some of the non-commercialized Christmas songs. There are some beautiful carols that you can sing together - maybe someone in your family or circle of friends can play the piano or guitar - if so, encourage them to play, and have a sing-along. Consider carols like "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Joy to the World," and "The First Noel." You can find the lyrics online if you don't know them.
  4. Spend time with others to celebrate. Gather together at the homes of friends and family, and spend some time in fellowship with others who believe as you do during this special time.
  5. Wish others a Merry Christmas. You don't have to worry that you will offend them. If they want to wish you a Happy Hanukkah, in response, thank them and wish them the same. Wishing others a Merry Christmas helps spread the cheer.
  6. Give to others. Whether to your family and friends, or to others less fortunate, spend some time this Christmas in giving. We give in remembrance of the gifts of the Magi to the Savior, but at the very heart of it all, recall that we are to give because He first gave to us.
  7. Spend time quietly being thankful for the gift of Jesus to the world that we celebrate on Christmas. This is the day that Christians have set aside to celebrate the beginning of the greatest gift mankind has ever received. Coming into the Christmas season with a grateful heart is essential if you really want to make the extension from Jesus's giving of His amazing gift to your giving and receiving.
  8. Invite God to come and celebrate the day with you. Some people choose to do this by attending a Christmas Eve service. Some do it by sitting before the Christmas tree and silently inviting God to just be with them. However you decide to do it, for the Christian, making God a part of your day is vital.

Secular Celebration

  1. Spread Cheer. When you hear Christmas songs, instead of being grumpy and resenting all of the commercialism, smile and whistle along. Being cheerful during the Christmas season really will help in spreading Christmas spirit to those around you, plus it helps you enjoy it more in the bargain.
  2. Join up with friends and family. Even if you aren't a Christian, lots of people celebrate the day just because it's a national holiday and most folks get a day off work. Take advantage of this time to reconnect with friends and family, and enjoy the fellowship.
  3. Create your own traditions. You don't have to engage in religious demonstrations in order to have fun Christmas traditions. Decorating a tree with Star Trek or superhero themed ornaments, or with little trains, or with Disney characters can be a part of it. Or have a movie night during which you invite friends over and serve hot apple cider and popcorn or cocoa and cookies. Show "A Christmas Story" or "The Family Stone," or any number of other non-religious themed seasonal movies.
  4. Have a Sing-Along. Either have it at your home, go door to door, or go to an old folks' home and do it. Learn some Christmas or seasonal songs, and sing! It's fun, and even if your voice isn't great, hopefully, you won't be singing alone - you'll get some cover from your more talented friends! Try songs like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," "Holly Jolly Christmas," or "Silver Bells."
  5. Do a Generous Work. This is in the spirit of spreading joy, kindness and beauty during the Christmas season. Maybe you can volunteer at a homeless shelter, or maybe you could help with a local toy drive or food drive for those who have less than you do.
  6. Invite your friends or family over for dinner. You don't have to spend big bucks on gifts - small tokens are fine. Or just have everyone over for a nice dinner. Make it a potluck if you want to keep expenses (and workload) manageable. The important thing is just to get together with people you love and make the winter a little warmer by sharing the warmth of caring with them.
  7. Avoid people who say you cannot celebrate the holiday if you are not Christian. Mention that Christmas is a national holiday in most countries (including the United States) and that that implies that everyone can celebrate. Also talk about the cheer, camaraderie, and general goodwill that goes around during this season.


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