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The Spirit of Christmas

December 23, 2009

Note: You can apply this to any holiday. I just happen to celebrate Christmas.

When I was a kid, Christmas was all about (a) the anticipation and (b) the presents. I’m not going to say that presents could make or break Christmas, but they were really important.

When I got older, traditions mattered more and more until they trumped the importance of presents. My family has tons of Christmas traditions ranging from the tree to the stockings to specific things we do on Christmas Eve to who is “allowed” to go downstairs first on Christmas morning to Christmas breakfast and dinner and letters from Santa.

This year my mom asked me, “Your favorite thing about Christmas are the letters from Santa, right?” When I thought about it, I realized as much as I like the legacy and tradition of those letters, they’re no longer the most important thing about Christmas.

What I’ve realized in recent years is how much we cling to traditions. They become so important that they are their own entity, and if they aren’t exactly the same as they’ve always been, that automatically means that something is wrong with Christmas. We’ve had that feeling–that feeling that it’s not really Christmas unless _______ happens.

That’s the danger in traditions. And that’s why I think I’ve truly started to realize that the true spirit of Christmas–the most important parts–are togetherness, family, and shared love. In any form.

That’s what I want for Christmas this year, and I want the same for all of you, dear readers: On Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you give and receive the gifts of togetherness, family, and shared love.

Merry Christmas,

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Lorena permalink
    December 23, 2009 1:44 am


    Just don’t tell my mom that we’re doing stockings BEFORE presents. That never flies.

  2. Dionne permalink
    December 23, 2009 8:56 am

    What a beautiful sentiment Jamey. I never grew up celebrating Christmas, but do so now as an adult. For me, Christmas is not a major holiday because I don’t have those traditions or memories associated with it. It allows me to focus more on the purpose of Christmas (even though Jesus was born closer to March than December and the christmas tree came out of pagan traditions). I completely agree with you that the focus should be on togetherness, family, shared love and, I would like to add, gratitude.

    Wishing you and yours a safe and wonderful holiday season!

    • December 23, 2009 12:08 pm

      Thanks, Dionne. I like the addition of gratitude as well as the focus on whatever religion brings you together in this season or any season.

  3. Colleen permalink
    December 23, 2009 5:21 pm

    This is really nice, Jamey. I remember many traditions from when I was younger – some we don’t do anymore since we’ve gotten older, but others we have carried on, especially to remember my dad. The traditions we have carried on are a really important part of our holiday, because they’re sort of like the links between the past and the present. I never want to lose those links because they’re the only Christmas memories I’ll ever have of my dad from this point forward – and while things change as time goes on, I still want to keep those traditions and memories alive. But togetherness, family, shared love, and gratitude truly are at the root of what the holiday is all about, no matter how we celebrate. Thanks for a lovely post, and I wish you, your family, and all the readers a Merry Christmas, happy holiday season, and wonderful New Year!

  4. margot permalink
    December 26, 2009 12:03 am

    I really like the idea that this holiday is about family time – and the question I have is: What events/activities/or traditions will hold the family together on ‘the’ morning? What of those things will cause a family to sit around together for hours? When children are younger the gifts seem to be the thing, but as everyone gets older what events/activities or traditions hold the attention of family for so long? I welcome anyone to give suggestions because it is something I am looking for answers to.

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