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Defining Christmas

by Debbie Twoney on December 12, 2013

The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much. – Henry David Thoreau


Black Friday is past and Christmas is almost here. For many people, it's a time to panic, thinking about all the presents to buy, making sure it comes out fair, and how to pay for it all when finances are tight. In our family, we have had plenty of those kinds of experiences, and we've had others of a different kind, a better kind.

Our first year together as a married couple, we had next to no money, and I presented the idea that we could forgo buying a Christmas tree so that we could have a few more dollars for presents. My wife (Dr. LeAnne, as she became later) burst into tears. That was when I realized that Christmas is about more than presents. Another year, there had been a drought, followed by a lot of rain, and the trees for sale on the lots were spindly-looking, tall and thin. We didn't have much choice, though. We took one home and called it our“Christmas stick.” But it still worked fine! Christmas is about traditions.  Christmas stick                                                                              





Years later, Dr. LeAnne took some of the children to a dollar gift store to buy little gifts for each other for stocking stuffers, and it came to her that the people who bought gifts there probably did not have a lot of money. So she suggested that the kids hide a dollar (actually $1.07, to cover sales tax) here and there throughout the store, to bless others who might not have much money for presents. That gave them a wonderful feeling. Christmas is about giving.

There was one year when my job took us overseas, and for one reason or another, with December days passing by, our belongings had not arrived, including our Christmas tree, decorations, presents and all that goes with making Christmas, well, Christmas. We were anxious about it. How could we have Christmas without all our Christmas stuff? What about presents? What about our stockings, handmade and personalized? What about our Christmas village that we always put out on display? What to do?

Paper Christmas

Our little children were looking forward to Christmas so much. We parents had to come up with something to save Christmas for the children! We thought it over and this is what we did: For a Christmas tree we got a big piece of paper and cut it in the shape of a Christmas tree, and we had the children color it green, and also color onto it strands of gold and silver, with red and blue circles to be the ornaments. Then we taped our “tree” up on the wall. For stockings, we found some paper lunch bags, and wrote each family member's name on one. These we called “sackings” instead of stockings and (lacking a mantle) we put them out on our spiral staircase Christmas Eve. We managed to order presents from catalogs and have them shipped to us in time (barely!), and bought some little things locally too. We had to do without a Christmas village. How did it all turn out? Our kids still think that was our best  Christmas ever – because we pulled together through our hardships (minor as they may have been). Christmas is about family.

Well, we all know that Christmas is about traditions, giving, and family. But mostly it's about love. Christmas is first and foremost about Christ. We keep up traditions because we remember Him. We give gifts because He gave us such great gifts. We share love with our families and others because He was such an example of love. I may not be the only one who needs to remember that Christmas is not about overspending, trying to buy happiness, but about honoring Christ.


Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through,

The joy that you give to others, Is the joy that comes back to you.

And the more you spend in blessing, the poor and lonely and sad,

The more of your heart's possessing, Returns to you glad.

– John Greenleaf Whittier


A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.



Authored by   David DeardeuffDr David Deardeuff

  • dj2me

    sounds like some special memories

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