Do you remember your childhood during Christmastime? We used to dress up in our holiday sweaters, eat the leftover cookie dough from Mom’s spoon, and drink hot cocoa while we write our letters to Santa and compose our very detailed Christmas list. My list included a Barbie laptop (fake laptop, only worked to play games), new Barbies (I loved playing dolls, okay?), and books. Obviously. And we’d hand these precious lists over to our parents just hoping that we would get all of the items on our list checked off by our stressed-out moms in Target. The Christmas season. Giving and receiving. You gotta love it.
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“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:29-31 • hi. hello. I’m here, I promise. I’ve been gone. I’ve been away. but I’m back. hey, I’m an inconsistent blogger. Let’s be honest. but a new blog post is live in my bio && and I get personal. I talk about me. I talk about my insecurities and how I’ve been feeling lately. But I also talk about the overwhelming, reckless love of God. He is always there, my friends. He’s always there, whispering in my ear, “I gotchu, Liv.” And that’s all I could ever ask for. • Read my latest blog post. #linkinbio also, that is me as a child. yep that’s me!!!
When we got older, our Christmas lists changed. From Barbies to the new iPhone, our family turned from giving real, solid gifts to gift cards you can stick in a nice Hallmark holiday card. Gift cards that just say “I didn’t know what to get you picky person, so here’s $50 to spend at American Eagle. Merry Christmas.”
Gift cards and cash. That’s what Christmas has turned into. Yes, I do love the occasional Starbucks gift card because I don’t like spending $4 of my own money on my skinny vanilla latte almost every morning. But that’s not what Christmas should be about. Christmas is about giving presents that make us think of each other. While shopping for the perfect gift for someone special might be stressful, it reminds us to really get to know the other person. Not just what their favorite store is, but what they actually enjoy about that store. Does it make them happy? Will they enjoy it forever? Will it truly bring them joy or will it just bring short-term happiness?
Solid, real gifts are great. But it raises the question of what Christmas is all about. Yes, I’m going there. Giving gifts bring us closer together. It reminds the other person that you do care about them. However, the gift of being together is so much more than half-priced boots at JC Penney’s. The gift of being together is so much more than a gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods (or wherever boys like to shop). The gift of being together is priceless. Because children, some people (and not trying to sound like your mother when you refuse to eat your veggies and she says there are starving kids in Africa) — some people simply do not have anyone to spend the holidays with. Or they don’t have enough means to buy presents or even a Christmas tree. Some people don’t have a home to celebrate the holidays with. Next time you groan and moan that you have to give up your bed for your grandma or that your mom is making you stay in with your aunt and uncle instead of spending time with your hometown friends during a break from school, remember that some people would do anything to spend a second with a loved one that is no longer with them.
Christmas has turned into a “shiny” holiday. We’ve developed Christmas lists that consist of shiny toys and materialistic things like clothes and shoes, and gift cards. We shop for the perfect present only to get a gift card. We get stressed out over the little details like what sheets our relatives are going to sleep on or who’s going to sleep where. We lose the joy of Christmas — the joy of being together and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Christ.
This year, I’m writing a Christmas list. And no it doesn’t consist of Barbies or the new iPhone. It’s my Christmas list that I not only hope to receive everything on it on Christmas Day but every day of 2019. Yes, these are items that aren’t things we can hold in the palm of our hands but things I want to see a change in my everyday life.
Here it is, my grown-up Christmas list.
- Less screen time alone and more quality, face-to-face time with the fam.
- Everyone to have at least one friend.
- Quit arguing about politics. No need to destroy a relationship because of a disagreement over a certain issue. #lovewins
- Competition with friends, family, or colleagues. We should be celebrating one’s accomplishments, not envying them or trying to “one-up” them. Which leads me to my next point…
- …No envy, no jealousy. Kick that little green monster to the curb and I do not mean the mucus monster in those cold medicine commercials.
- Eliminate hatred. Stop using the word hate and communicate our problems.
- Catch up with an old friend, any old friend.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter or food bank.
- Read more books. Start by reading one book per month, and so on. Who said print is dead? (buy more books)
- Smile at strangers on the street. Never know who could need it the most 🙂
- Bring positivity into every room I walk in. No one is mean to the nice girl. #killemwithkindness
- Give one of my presents to someone in need. Someone who doesn’t get presents.
Alexa, play the Pentatonix Christmas album. Yes, play Grown-Up Christmas List by Kelly Clarkson and Pentatonix. THX!!!
But I encourage you to make your own “grown-up Christmas list.” Start with things that make your insides happy, make butterflies fly around in your stomach, and make you smile during random times of the day. Let’s start this list together and start making the world a better place.