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Breaking away from holiday traditionPosted Thursday, December 20, 2007, at 6:22 PM
Christmas will soon be upon us and our family is about to break stride with tradition and we're doing something different for the holiday this year.
Instead of getting involved with all of the hustle and bustle and insanity of finding that special gift for each and every family member, we've opted this year to take a chance and do what we had not done before.
We aren't buying gifts -- or at least the level of gift buying is being greatly reduced -- except for the grandkids.
With the cash we will presume to save, we are all -- our family, more than 20 of us -- have booked rooms for a couple of nights this weekend at a hotel in Clarksville -- located along the beautiful Ohio River in southern Indiana. It's sort of a centralized meeting place for our family members who are scattered about in Indiana and Michigan.
We are going to do a mini-gift exchange with a $10 limit, but other than that, we've had to pledge to adhere to the rules and bring only ourselves for two nights of being with the family.
I recently read that the average American uses about 70 feet of Christmas paper and nearly 53 yards of ribbon to wrap an average of 32 gifts each year.
Just count the gift under your own tree on Christmas morning. How many gifts are there?
The get-away idea for our Christmas this year has already drawn mixed reviews from some of the family members and it hasn't even happened yet. But for the most part, we all agree that in the past we have all over-indulged in the gift giving and probably lost sight of the true meaning of this wonderful holiday.
Christmas is a time of the year associated with fun, happiness and family.
We plan to capitalize on all three aspects this weekend -- with our two daughters and their families joining my wife's parents and step-siblings and their kids for what 'should' be a nice time.
We will have a few mini Christmas trees displayed and some festive lights strung in our rooms just to set the holiday mood.
To help pass our time until Sunday afternoon, we will, of course, enjoy some family time together -- a precious commodity that we don't get to do nearly enough these days with everybody's busy schedules. We are going to play board games, watch movies, view some ball games on the television and enjoy some meals together -- and nobody has to cook or do the dishes. Beware, we will be taking a dip or two in the indoor pool and probably soak much longer in the hot tub.
We hope to be able to gather also as a family and offer up our thanks in prayer for the many blessings and good fortunes of the past year. Life is full of ups and downs, but if the truth is known we are all blessed and for that we all need to forever thankful.
It's going to be a time of rest and relaxation. We hope and pray the kiddies who are ages 1-2-3-4-10 and 12 will cooperate and let great-grandpa, great-grandma, Nana, Pops and their uncles and aunts have some time to kick back and relax.
This adventure is truly a family experiment. It will be something that we'll do again next year or we could decide to go back to the old tried and true tradition of gathering in our hometown of Tell City.
We just hope to retain the true spirit of Christmas in whatever we decide to do in the future.
The good news of Christmas is not a date in history, but the true celebration is the birth of Christ -- our savior.
The Christmas season for the believer is not a time for selfish feasting and preoccupation with so many commercialized things that don't really matter.
It must be a time for spreading good cheer and the important message, "Unto you is born a Savior."
Merry Christmas to everyone.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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