In our house, we have 2 Christmases.
The first, which I call "Xmas", is secular. It's about getting lots of presents and recognizing each other's interests by slathering unnecessary gifts on each other.
The second is "Christmas," and Jane and I try hard to make it about Jesus. It's hard though, for Jesus to compete for the attention of a 4 year old girl who just opened her Polly Pockets. She'd rather stay at home and play than get dressed up for Church.
This morning the kids were up before 6 am (on a school day I can't get them up before 7 am even if the hosue is on fire). They couldn't wait to see what Santa brought them. They tore through the Santa gifts and the parental-gifts in about 5 minutes! A new family record!
I have mixed feelings about this present-thing.
It's hard to get away from it, I guess -- we feel that we have to do the secular Santa Claus Christmas, because you're overwhelmed by it. Society sets the expectation and the kids will feel cheated if I don't do it. There's no escape from the "Happy Holidays" in these United States. It's blatant economy-stoaking-"Made-in-China"-consumerism, which inevitably only buys a few minutes of happiness before the toys break, or a tiny piece gets lost rendering the entire toy useless, or the kids realize they didn't get everything they asked for. Pete (age 2) is still at the age where the cardboard box is more interesting than the Little People choo-choo that came inside it.
Note to self: Next Christmas, everyone gets a cardboard box and the money goes to the poor.
Christians should band together and decide to give their gifts on Epiphany. That's they day we celebrate the Magi bringing gifts to baby Jesus. Besides, we could all take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and probably save 25% on Christmas presents. Doing this would also allow us to focus on the meaning of Christs birth on Christmas day. Are there any fellow Christian revolutionaries out there who will join me?
New Years Resolution: to launch a Christian backlash against Xmas consumerism and move present opening to Epiphany. Should be a piece of cake, right? Please let everyone know.