Worried About What To Give? Try A Christmas Story

Published Date: December 12th, 2006
Category: Holiday Fun

By J Gardener

We all have different traditions, when it comes to celebrating the holidays, but one thing most of us can count on: It’s the time of year when friends and families gather for fellowhip, food, and gifts. In today’s world, with extended families spread out, it’s often the only time relatives have to meet new cousins, nephews, and nieces, born in the past year. But, with the cost of travel going through the roof, the traditional family gathering is growing more and more expensive.

Then there’s the problem of gifts. What do you buy for Aunt Louise, whom you’ve only ever seen at Christmastime? How do you shop for Cousin Jim’s new baby, who isn’t old enough to know what Christmas means? You want to buy them something nice (you don’t want to be known as the “cheap” relative), but you’ve got kids of your own to buy for, too, and your credit limit only goes so high… Besides, how can you fit gifts for everyone into the car?

Many large families today are in the same boat. They want to keep alive the tradition of the “gathering”, but they want to find ways of making the whole process easier on everyone.

As a result, many extended families now draw names-each person only buys a gift for one relative, assuring that everyone gets something, while limiting the financial burdens and the time needed for shopping.

Other families have eliminated gifts altogether from their holiday gatherings. After all, they figure, the point is fellowship, not gifts.

Families everywhere are creating new traditions for their holiday get-togethers. One family I know has a great way of keeping the Christmas gathering interesting, entertaining, and surprising every year, without spending a dime on gifts. They’ve developed their own tradition of holiday storytelling.

It’s an idea you might want to try. Pre-assign one or two members of the family to perpare, for reading or reciting, their favorite holiday story. Always include at least one young child. Set aside a time-after the big meal, for instance-when everyone can gather, comfortably, to enjoy the stories.

There are hundreds of great holiday stories, both religious and secular. From the Nativity story to “Rudolph”, there’s something for everyone. When was the last time you heard a child recite or read “The Littlest Angel”? It’s something you’ll never forget. And there are plenty of stories adults can enjoy just as much-from O. Henry’s “The Gift Of The Magi” to Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory”.

Enjoying these stories with your family and extended family will remind you what the holiday season’s all about. And I promise, you won’t miss the frantic hoopla of opening gifts; you won’t have to fake gratitude you don’t feel, when you get another pair of green socks from Cousin Bob; you won’t have a ton of wrapping paper to clean up, afterwards; and you won’t spend a month fretting about what to buy your nephew’s latest girlfriend.

Do you even remember what Uncle Fred gave you last year, for Christmas? Wouldn’t you remember, forever, if he read Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and acted out all the parts? Wouldn’t that be better than anything money can buy?

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