I have a few suggestions to avoid the holiday hustle and bustle next year based on my personal, Puerto Rican mode of operation that I hope will catch on.
* Treat Christmas like the birthday of the most important person in the universe, since that’s exactly what it is. On someone’s birthday, you focus on that one person and nothing else. You spend the day with them, celebrate their life and give thanks for their existence. These are things we should be doing better when it comes to Jesus. So save a tree and throw a birthday party with your family and friends instead. What would Jesus want on his birthday? He’d want us to love our neighbors and direct our giving toward them. Volunteer, do charitable works, etc. And, above all, celebrate him! Go to Mass, give thanks and spread the good news! This will result in a lot more joy and a lot less stress.
* I admit that we cannot ignore the culture of material gift-giving so easily. What I suggest is more fully celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany! Like the gifts Jesus received, we should keep it to three items or less (as did the Three Kings) and we should wait until Jan. 6 to receive them. It doesn’t really make sense for us to get our gifts before Jesus gets his. Plus, there are some added benefits to waiting:
1. The extra time allows you to focus on Jesus in December instead of shopping and gifts.
2. You can take advantage of stores’ after-Christmas sales and not have to deal with crowds and empty shelves.
3. You prolong the Christmas celebration, which doesn’t end until Jesus’ baptism anyway.
Jesus is the reason for the season! ¡Feliz Día de los Reyes!