OVERdoing Christmas
It is no secret that the Christmas season has gone way OVER the top. The true meaning of Christmas constantly gets lost in the Christmas parties, shopping malls and the stressful rides to-and-from family gatherings. We must fight the “over-crazed” mentality of the season and return to the simple things of Christmas such as family, friends and the cross. What can we do to fight?
Do not OVERspend. It is so easy to get lost in the Christmas buying frenzy and not think about the bill until January. Decide on how much you will spend on each family member, withdraw that much cash from the bank and only use that money for your purchases.
Do not OVEReat. This is a very hard thing to do since most of our time off is spent at Christmas parties and family functions. Please enjoy yourself, but don’t go home sick after every party because you ate too much. Ask a member of your family to keep you accountable or write down what you ate. Once you see on paper what you ate, it will give you a better perspective and a proper incentive to eat in moderation.
Do not OVERstress. It is so easy to hurry around to get everything done that you miss the whole Christmas season and stress everyone out along the way. Decide now to limit your Christmas activities. You may have to say no to a Christmas party. Plan ahead and purchase everything now instead of waiting until the last minute. Involve your teen in some of the Christmas planning. They just might surprise you with their hard work and creativity.
Most importantly, remember that you can’t OVERemphasize enough the true meaning of Christmas! The best gift we can ever receive is Jesus Christ. Make sure you share this most precious gift with everyone you come in contact with this season.


How does your spending for the holidays measure up with the rest of the world?
How much are teens willing to spend for Christmas gifts this Christmas?
27% – nothing
27% – up to $50
25% – between $51 and $100
21% – more than $100

How much do you plan to spend on each teen/child for the holidays?
14% – $0 – $99
10% – $100 – $199
21% – $200 – $299
30% – $300 – $399
23% – $400 and up

Looking for some creative ways to OVERemphasize the true meaning of Christmas? Here are some ideas:
1. Give a present that will bless. For teens who don’t have a lot of disposable income, encourage them to make “service coupons.” Some ideas would be to babysit, to wrap Christmas gifts for their family, or to clean the house.
2. Start thinking of others. Sit down with your family and pick a service project. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or collect cans for a food pantry. Just make sure ALL members of the family pick the project and are involved in it.
3. Say “Merry Christmas” to your neighborhood. Purchase or make inexpensive Christmas goodies, put them in a small bag, and write a note to your neighbors wishing them a Merry Christmas. Make sure you add the most important thing…Jesus Christ!

Most families would agree that Christmas is one of the “most wonderful times of the year.” Get in the Christmas spirit by asking the following questions:
1. Why do you think so many people, Christians and non-Christians, love Christmas so much?
2. If you could ask for ANY gift this Christmas, what would it be and why?
3. Do you like giving or receiving presents more? Why?
4. Would you rather have:
a. A white Christmas.
b. All of your family members together for Christmas dinner.
c. The solo in the Christmas performance.
d. Christmas at your favorite vacation spot.

Pray that:
1. God will not allow your family to forget why we celebrate Christmas.
2. God will protect your family from the excess of the holiday season. Ask God to keep things simple, real, meaningful, and life-changing.
3. God will allow your family time this Christmas to be full of laughter and overflowing with joy.
4. God will give your family the spirit of giving everyday instead of just during the holiday season.

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NIV)
Joseph had just found out that Mary was pregnant and was about to end their relationship quietly. It seemed that all was lost until an angel appeared to Joseph and explained what was about to happen. Joseph knew something special was in store because the angel told him this baby was to be called Jesus. A name in biblical times told much about who a person was and who they would become. Joseph found out that day that Jesus would be the Savior of the world. Jesus was no ordinary gift of life. Joseph was about to behold the Giver of Life. This gift God had in store for Mary and Joseph would not only change their lives, but the lives of every person who has or will ever live on this earth. Let us never forget the greatest gift we can ever give is to tell others about the life-saving grace of Jesus Christ.

* Glitter beards are a hot new trend with guys on the internet this holiday season.
That’s right, folks. Behold, the glitter beard. Just in time for the holiday season, guys all over Instagram are covering their beards, mustaches and even eyebrows in sparkling glitter. From pink to purple to gold or black, these glitter beards are an amazingly artistic sight to behold – though I wouldn’t want to watch them attempt to eat with all that sparkly stuff so near their mouths.

While we’re not really sure how the trend got started, it seems to be catching on with hipsters just as quickly as man braids and flowers in the beard did.

Watch out all you gaudy tinsel covered Christmas trees, this season you won’t be the only ones attracting attention with your sparkly splendor. There’s bound to be a few bearded bronies stealing your thunder this winter. (usatoday.com)
* A survey found that thirty-eight percent of U.S. teens would prefer cash for Christmas this year, followed by cell phones or portable electronics. (upi.com)
* According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), total holiday retail sales are expected to increase 5.0% from last year, bringing holiday spending to $435.3 billion. (nrf.com)
* Nearly 9 in 10 Americans, 88%, say it is OK for people to wish others “Merry Christmas,” because it is a way of spreading holiday cheer. Eleven percent say people should avoid wishing others “Merry Christmas,” because they might offend someone who does not celebrate Christmas. (gallup.com)

What will be the most sought-after gifts of the season? Here is a hint…
1. Glide/hover board
2. Xbox One
3. Pocket projector – Project streaming Netflix from your phone
4. Clothes
5. Jewelry
6. Gift cards (you can’t go wrong with these!) (nrf.com)