By: Dee Jones, President of Light 2 World, Inc.

How much is too much? What if funds are low or altogether gone? Most children don’t really care about how the gifts get under the tree, that they are there.
I recall a special gift giving moment over twenty years ago. One Christmas morning, we were all around the tree and our first born was overwhelmed at the gifts he saw. Most of the gifts were for him as he was the only child at the time. In our home, we have a tradition of thanking God for our blessings and reading the Bible before opening presents. After the exchange of gifts, our son exclaimed, “I have more gifts than all of you”. That was the last year we allowed our giving to overshadow the gratitude of the season.
Now we are wiser, our giving is more creative, and we are learning to model gratitude for our special 6-year-old. His fourth year with us, we awakened to a living room full of opened presents and a huge smile! We laughed and took pictures as we rewrapped the gifts. As you think of fond memories of Christmas, remember that time spent with family and friends is precious.

Here are few suggestions on how to de-stress your holiday celebrations.
Advent calendars and devotionals are a wonderful way to center your thoughts on the blessing of Christmas. For those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or who may not have pleasant memories of past holidays; start anew. Let God’s Word keep you and your family focused on the real reason for the holiday season.
Get creative! Homemade gift-giving has many benefits. They foster time together, are inexpensive, and are so much fun, and can even be tasty.
Family service is a great way to foster gratitude in our little ones. There are numerous ways to serve during the season and it can create fun memories and benefit your finances as well. Our church sponsors holiday meals and gift giving trees each year. Check with your local churches if you have a need or you want to serve.
Make a new memory. Attend a free Christmas play, a parade, or free musical event. Holiday movies have added a special feature. For example the movie “Journey to Bethlehem” offered free tickets to see the movie about Christ’s birth. Other faith-based movies are offering free tickets as well for those who want to attend. If you are able, you can donate to this cause as well.
Start your own special traditions. We love memorizing scripture each week leading to the story of Mary and Joseph. Little ones love time spent together. My son enjoys interaction more than reading a book, so we act out parts which bring the story alive.
No matter your economic status, time is golden. Spend it wisely and model gratitude and love this holiday season. It is blessed to give and it is also blessed to receive.
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