By Ron Dorner
The holiday needs changing. More Christ needs to be put back into Christmas. Maybe this is the year your family can place less emphasis on gifts and more on the Gift during the weeks leading up to December 25.
Christmas 2008 will be different for many as financial frugality becomes a necessity. Facing difficult times is always an opportunity to evaluate priorities.
The good news is that most activities that emphasize and honor Christ cost very little. Here are some ideas — become involved in church Christmas activities, have a series of family Christmas devotions in the weeks leading up to the holiday, throw a birthday party for Jesus for neighborhood children, or send special “birth announcements” to friends and neighbors.
Use prayer and your imagination. The important thing is to bring attention to the fact that God offered such a special gift to the world. The best part is it is available to all!
One budget-breaker can be home festivities and the gift-giving tradition. It is possible to enjoy Christmas without breaking the bank. Ask someone who is over age 75. They can tell of inexpensive Christmas traditions which might fit into a more frugal Christmas 2008.
Buying gifts is a big challenge. This year, draw names with the adults. Set a limit on the amount spent. Let’s face it; are most of the gifts received at Christmas needed?
Children should learn about giving as well as receiving during this season. Allow them to focus on a project which helps someone in need. This can be as simple as making cookies and distributing them or more involved like gift buying for Angel Tree projects.
Christmas is an excellent time to teach children about finances. Explain how gifts this year will be fewer because of limited funds. Tell them they could expect one nice gift (that they really want) and some smaller, less expensive items.
Consider helping as a family at a homeless shelter. There is no better way to teach children about those who are less fortunate.
As you read this you may be weeks away from Christmas. One of the great joys for children is anticipation. Plan some projects now that will excite the children about the holiday. Prepare projects in which they can be involved. They could make their own Christmas cards or gifts for family. Schedule a night to make tree ornaments. Encourage them to list people to whom the family will give food gifts.
Christmas has been celebrated many, many years by many people with meager finances. With a little thought and planning, this Christmas can be one of the best ever!
Ron Dorner is director of Biblical Money Management. BMM has been helping believers handle their finances and estate planning since 1984. Online counseling is available at www.BiblicalMoneyManagement.com.