A Christmas Reminder

The other night we watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with our young daughter. It was the first time we had sat down and watched it ourselves since we were kids. I wanted to share the Linus monolouge explaining the true meaning of Christmas for those of you who like us hadn’t seen this for years.

It is kind of amazing to think that somehow we have gone from this to our current culture. Somewhere along the way, Christmas has gone from a day celebrating the birth of Jesus to a retail holiday season that starts for many even before Thanksgiving.  Somehow it has become about getting the best deals on the hottest toys, the biggest T.V., the newest IPhone, or fancy clothes, shoes or purses.

I would encourage everyone who hasn’t watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to sit down and watch it this year. It doesn’t even matter if you celebrate Christmas. If you substitute the words financial independence for Christmas, the message is really the same one that we often share on this blog.

Many people struggle to remember the true meaning of Christmas, as simple as it is.  Likewise, many people struggle on their path to financial independence.

Finding the true meaning of Christmas and achieving financial independence are each ultimately about blocking out all of the commercial garbage. It is about ignoring peer pressure and finding truth rather than following the herd.  It is realizing what is truly important and then having the convictions to act on those beliefs, even if it goes against what everyone else is doing.

If you haven’t watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for a while, give it another look this year.  You may just learn, or at least be reminded of, something pretty important like we were.

Do you get caught up in the hype and commercialism that has taken over Christmas? Do you have any ideas or traditions to remind you of the true meaning of Christmas? Do you agree that commercialism has creeped into every part of our lives? Share your thoughts below.

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18 comments on A Christmas Reminder

  1. As my wife and I are getting older we are getting back into the traditional sense of the Holiday. We would rather enjoy spending time with our families than give each other presents. We are trying to scale it back some this year with our families and then going to propose moving away from gift giving next year. We will see how this goes!

    I just hate the idea that everything has to be centered around buying stuff people don’t need and giving it to them. Or the worst thing, exchanging gift cards, so you aren’t out any money overall, but now restricted to where you can spend you money…

    1. We’ve given up exchanging gifts a while ago and this year finally convinced our siblings on both sides to stop exchanging gifts. I agree that the holidays are much more enjoyable without the pressure and responsibility to go out and buy a bunch of stuff that people don’t need or even really want.

    1. That means a lot Ronney. I actually wrote this post a year ago but didn’t have the confidence or conviction to post it until now. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. My favorite part about the holidays is getting together with family and friends. Even though my family is close and we regularly get together throughout the year there’s just something about this time of year that begs for friends, family, and fellowship. I’d honestly be happy if we never exchanged gifts in the future although the last few years we’ve changed things up and started having a homemade white elephant gift exchange for the adults as well. Hoping that it takes over and replaces the gift buying because the homemade gifts are so much better and more meaningful.

    1. Agree JC! The one tradition that I look forward to is to take all the kids in the family snow tubing together as their Christmas present. I started it in part out of laziness to not have to try to pick out gifts for kids who all seemed to already have everything and guilt in feeling that you’re supposed to get kids something. Everyone loved it and still looks forward to it as we have done this for the past 5 years and the oldest kids are now in college. It is a blast that people of almost all ages can do together. It is the one gift I truly look forward to giving each year (and I don’t even have to go into a store for it!)

  3. Great reminder of what it’s all about. When I was growing up, we would have to read the story of Jesus on Christmas morning before we opened presents. We don’t have that tradition with our family, but it was a good reminder about what the season is here for.

    1. Cool thought. Little EE is 3 and this is the first year that she gets it and we are trying to figure out what our traditions are going to be as we incorporate each of our personal family favorites and establish our own.

  4. We LOVE Charlie Brown Christmas. And this year, our family is all meeting up in Hawaii to celebrate my dad’s retirement. We’ve told the kids there are no presents this year because we’re having an experience together… this has changed everything. The kids are totally on board and it’s made us focus more on experiences this whole season. We actually do service together and focus on the birth of Jesus. And I love it when my kids say things like “They’re just trying to get us to buy all that stuff. But we have lots of toys!” Isn’t Christmas, REAL Christmas the best?

    1. Enjoy the trip and that is awesome that your kids get it. Mrs EE had an idea to go on a toy shopping spree for a local charity and take little EE with her to pick out the toys for others. I thought it was a waste at best and a bit cruel at worst to see her mom buying things for others and not get anything herself as I figured the concept would be way over her head. I was dead wrong! She talks all the time about getting gifts for kids who don’t have any. I am learning that little kids get a lot more than I could ever have imagined.

  5. Over the past handful of years, my wife and I have gotten out of the crazy holiday spending in terms of vast amounts of gifts. Since we have everything we could possibly need, we enjoy each other’s company and the company of our family.

    Mrs. Saturday’s parents would be so stressed out having to get gifts for everyone until finally we all made a big break and said enough is enough! Now we spend wonderful holidays together with great food and as a game we might do the one cheap present exchange, but have finally broken out of the crazy commercialism in this country.

    It’s such a stress reliever not having to run out and fight the miserable crowds!

    1. We’re in the same boat. When we do buy gifts we focus on things like tickets, dinners and other experiences that get us spending time with the people we care about rather than just giving them stuff.

  6. Amen, brother! Christmas materialism is out of control. I walked into Home Depot *in October*, well before Halloween, and it was already Christmased out. Sigh. We’re stoked that Mr. ONL’s family was on board with a no gift Christmas this year, and I’m hoping that sticks, since everyone in the family agrees that what we really care about is the time together, not the stuff (well, okay, maybe the kids still like opening presents, but they certainly don’t need fancy new toys all the time).

    1. We really minimize the commercial aspect of Christmas in both of our families as well. The grandparents go a little overboard on Little EE, but we’re learning to just roll with that a little. Otherwise, we’re pretty minimalist on the gifts and when we do give, mostly to the kids in the family we focus on experiences with them which we think has far more value than a material gift or worst of all a gift card.

  7. Good for you as parents to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with your daughter.

    Its the longest-running cartoon special in history, airing every year since its debut in 1965. Charles Schulz refused to have a laugh track included and declined to have the religious message removed.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  8. I hate going to mall and because of that I don’t buy gifts. I think that it’s better just to spend Christmas with relatives and friends. My wife just gave holiday paper bags (filled with chocolates and candies). I think that this is more reasonable than buying gifts that kids don’t really appreciate.

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