I can still remember my first real Christmas. I was in fourth grade and came home from school carrying a construction-paper garland that I made in class for my Christmas tree. There was just one problem, I didn't have a Christmas tree. My thought a tree was a waste of money, and besides, we were Hindus.
In 2013, when the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, thousands of people were made homeless and to this date, still can't celebrate Christmas like they used to. But despite poverty and hard times, Filipinos always find a way to give gifts and celebrate. Many charities, like World Vision, continue to work with the people in the country to rehabilitate and rebuild.
The Christmas you plan is up to you. You decide what foods to make, gifts to buy, which events to add to your calendar. You set the schedule of the holiday. This year don't try and do it all, say no to the OK stuff and yes to the great stuff. Let this be the year you reclaim the holiday, and make it simple, on purpose.
I've been using the power of Santa Claus for a few weeks now, and things are looking good. For maximum effectiveness, the use of Santa and his omnipresence is good for the window directly following Halloween until December 25. During this time, I enjoy the increased attentiveness, dearth of meltdowns and general calm that precedes Christmas day.
Like my parents before me, I have tended to go a bit overboard in the present department, vowing each year that I would buy less, and give more. Well, this year I can proudly say I've done it. I am not sure whether it was the weather, the state of the economy, or losing some special friends this year, but I've found it harder to get into the Christmas mood, so I have shopped less and donated more.