My husband Lee and I have only been married for three-and-a-half years, but we've already seen this busy-ness plague infect our celebrations. As we prepared to celebrate our first Christmas as a family of three last year, we asked for God's guidance to keep the Christmas season from becoming all about the trimmings. We decided that we would intentionally set aside Christmas morning as our sacred family time. No company (not even grandparents), no traveling, not even any telephone calls or Internet. We explained to our families that we're open to joining them for celebrations the weekend before or after Christmas Day and that they're welcome to join us in the afternoon on Christmas Day if they'd like to … but Christmas morning is off limits. It hasn't always been the most popular decision, but we knew it was the right one for us. As we prepare to welcome our second child to this world this coming Easter, it's refreshing to know that we won't have to juggle traveling with a baby and toddler on Christmas Day 2009!
I don't expect this to be the answer for every family to find some calm in the midst of the Christmas season, but it works for us. What works for your family? We are still relatively newlyweds, so I would love it if you could leave a comment with ways that you keep Christ central to your celebrations in the midst of the busy season!