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Keeping Christmas


Christmas is a time of traditions. It’s a time when we go to familiar places and see family and do things not for any reason, but because “that’s what we do.” 

You help your dad put the inflatable Santa out front because that’s where it has always gone. Your aunt brings the sweet potatoes because she always has (you’re not sure if she can cook anything else anyway, and you better darn well eat it). You watch the same Christmas movie even though grandpa falls asleep and the entire rest of the family will say all the lines before they happen because that’s just what you do.

You don’t have to analyze it. You don’t have to rationalize it. You don’t have to apply critical theory to it. You don’t even have to enjoy every minute of it. You just show up and play your part. And there’s something comforting about that–about dropping our egos and doing something with others just because.

In a cultural moment full of modern ideologies and habits that breed selfishness and push people to become islands to themselves, it’s easy to feel lost, but that’s exactly why Christmas, of all the holidays, still has such a hold on our hearts.

The Better Alternative

 Story Time: Many families have a tradition to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. There’s nothing wrong with this classic, but it’s not bad to focus on that baby born in Bethlehem in such circumstances. Try Christmas in the Manger, The Legend of Saint Nicholas, or The Christmas Story popup book as an alternative. There’s also ‘Twas the Evening Before Christmas, which has the same rhyming pattern and style as The Night Before Christmas, but with a Christ-centered theme. (Also, if you’re in a last-minute crunch to find a Christmas gift for an older child, consider Cold-Case Christianity for Kids.)

Santa’s Cookie: Few things bring a family together like baking delicious sweets. If you want to bake Christmas cookies every Christmas or Christmas Eve, we recommend you buy American-made cookie molds from OhSay USA or Ann Clark. They have classic shapes like stockings, bells, and candy canes, along with fun options like state outlines, flags, and cacti.

Goodwill to Men: Few things spread the Christmas spirit more than volunteering and giving back. Spending Christmas with those in need is also a great way to teach your kids that, however fun the gifts are, Christmas is about so much more. Sadly, we don’t recommend you give your time or money to the Salvation Army. They took a deep dive into “anti-racism” and BLM in recent years. Instead, volunteer with your local church or maybe find an old folks home you can visit—no one should be lonely at Christmas. Don’t forget that you can also give Seven Weeks Coffee as a gift that doubles as a donation to pregnancy centers.

Here We Come a Caroling: In our experience, we’ve mostly seen Christmas caroling in the movies and not in real life. That means it’s a great time to gather up family and friends and change that. A Classic Christmas Caroling Songbook contains 30 of your favorite carols, from “O Holy Night” to “The First Noel” to “What Child is This?” The songbook is on sale for 99 cents on Christianbook.com, so buy a stack and start warming up your vocal cords!

Business Spotlight

For many, setting up a nativity scene year after year is a precious pastime, and there are few traditions more fitting for Christmas. If you don’t already have a special nativity scene, you can’t go wrong with Danforth Pewter. Each piece is handmade in Vermont, sturdy, and beautiful. They sell the pieces individually, so you can always start with just the Holy Family and add more of the scene each Christmas.

The Bigger Picture

Start the new year off right with 50% off of membership to Align! While this newsletter remains free, Align membership features exclusive discounts from a growing network of businesses, exclusive content, and access to our members-only online discussion platform. Join now and help build up the new economy with a community of like-minded Americans.