The heart of Christmas

I am addicted to online shopping.

OK, well, addicted may be a strong word. But I have spent a lot of time browsing the after-Thanksgiving and Cyber-week deals in the past few days.

I have to say, the lightning deals on Amazon are a stroke of marketing genius. Come on, who can resist a countdown to reveal an item that you probably will never use and never wanted? But when it pops up after a suspenseful countdown and the original price has a big red slash through it, you can’t help but buy it. Right?

So after overloading on online shopping this weekend, I started thinking about how to make Christmas about more than the gifts. Sure, my 3-year-old daughter will love her gifts on Christmas morning, but I want to make sure I don’t leave her out of the giving spirit that I hope accompanies the holiday.

So in our family this year, we’re trying to keep spending to a minimum. We’ve also adopted another family so my daughter can feel the joy of giving gifts to strangers in need.

We’re also making sure the actual Christmas story is told frequently in our house so there’s no question about why we celebrate this holiday and who is at the center of it. I became a little nervous about this when my daughter equated Santa to Jesus after hearing the lyric, “He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Sorry Santa, you’re a fun accessory to this holiday — not the main event.

So I’d love to hear some concrete tips on how to get your children in the holiday spirit of giving. How do you make Christmas about following Christ’s example of loving your neighbor?

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