Several years ago I wound up sitting in on a time share presentation. The seller opened the conversation with this: "How many Christmas presents can you remember?" (a few) Now, how many family vacations can you remember?" (all of them). Her point was that our fondest memories center around shared experiences.
Before reading the next paragraph, take a moment and reflect on the above questions. How many presents can YOU remember? How many family vacations/experiences?
Okay, so if stuff is fleeting and unmemorable, why have we made it the focal point of the holidays? Why do kids talk about presents first and everything else second (if at all)? Why are adults shopping on Thanksgiving? It's easy for Christians to say "Jesus is the reason for the season," but do our actions show it?
My challenge to you this Christmas is to let go of the consumerism and embrace the experience of the season. Start some family traditions. Go out and see holiday lights. Start Christmas caroling in your neighborhood. Get an Advent wreath and light candles every evening. Serve a meal in a homeless shelter. Sign up to ring a Salvation Army bell. Bake together. Decorate together. Watch the same cheesy Christmas movie together. Find a Christmas Eve service to attend. Whatever you choose to do, shift focus from the stuff to creating memories.