by Katie Julius

You’ve probably seen the meme going around recently that says something to the effect of, “The first Christmas was simple. It’s okay if yours is too.”

A few weeks ago, we shared a blog with some ideas for those who were interested in Christmas School. At the time, maybe you were one of those homeschooling parents all “gung-ho” about the holiday season and giving your kids the best “Christmas School” ever. And then life got in the way.

Whether it was illness, unexpected family circumstances, or things just ended up busier than you planned, you may be feeling a bit like you failed at the holidays this year. If that’s you (or even if it’s not), read on.

The advent season and Christmas was never about the rush to get everything done. It wasn’t about the perfect wish list and presents under the tree. It wasn’t about the in-depth curriculum as you learn about countries around the world or how people in the 1800s celebrated Christmas. It wasn’t about all of the parties and food and treats. It certainly wasn’t about an elf you have to remember to move every night.

The advent season was (and still should be) about the anticipation of the arrival of the Son of God. Our Savior. Are any of those other things bad? Of course not! But they are if they cause us to lose focus of the reason we are doing them in the first place.

Be okay with letting things go, even now. Scale back what you had planned. Put any and all school away. Don’t worry! Your kids are still learning – menu planning, making and wrapping gifts, baking, performing in or watching the arts, budgeting, and more. They’re also learning about prioritizing the important things. They’re learning what a stress-free Christmas can look like.They’re learning how you can adapt and change when things don’t go according to plan. 

Focus on each other and the excitement of the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Take a minute and think about that … God Himself came to earth in the form of a man. God – the One who made everything. All-knowing, all-powerful God.

If what you are doing in this season isn’t focused on Him, it’s time for a change. 

But what about all of our traditions? Traditions just for tradition’s sake don’t usually have much meaning. Try going without some of them for a year. If you miss them, plan to add them back into your schedule again next year. You and your family will enjoy the next few weeks so much more when you make your holiday truly focused on Christ, when you have a simpler Christmas.