“Taking the Frenzy Out of Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 1980, 49
For many years, we tried to do too much at Christmastime. We gave too many gifts, attended too many parties, stayed up too late, and generally overcommitted ourselves in too many directions. But now we’ve simplified our routine—Christmas is much more casual and enjoyable for all.
For one thing, we follow the principle of selective neglect—we don’t plan to do everything every year. Some years we send cards; some years we don’t. Some years we have sent gifts to out-of-town relatives in February. (That’s two months late, not ten months early.)
Christmas is best when we try to show our love for each other. We make small gifts or goodies for teachers and neighbors—nothing spectacular. We consider such items indications of our love, not entries in a competition. And drawing names for special good deeds and gifts for family members has been more successful than giving myriads of unneeded (and often unappreciated) gifts as in the past.
One year we wanted to make a gingerbread house as we had done in other years. But when all the pieces were baked and the candy was ready for decorating, we decided to eat it right then—before it was assembled. My old self would have been outraged. My simplified self said, Why not? Surely the Savior would be more pleased with our family laughing and working together and eating its lopsided cookie pieces than he ever would be by a prize-winning gingerbread house, probably done entirely by mother so nothing would be askew. One of my Christmas goals is to never say or even feel that I will be relieved to have Christmas over with. If I feel that way, I have failed. Christmas must not be a dreaded obligation to be waded through somehow; it is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior by following his example of love. Bonnie L. Goodliffe, Salt Lake City, Utah