No Childhood Milestones Without Celebrating Holidays
Recently, I talked with a young man. He was raised in a godly family. His family never celebrated any holidays and did very little for the birthdays. His parents thought holidays had become too secularized. He wants different for his family. His childhood blurs together since there were no special times to remember. There were no milestones to fondly look back on.
One of my daughters was telling me of all the milestones she remembers from her childhood. She remembers special birthday parties. She remembers different Christmas celebrations that stood out for one reason or another, like the time she talked her siblings into opening all of their presents at four in the morning before mom and dad woke up. She remembers going to Disneyland and Guadalupe during the Halloween times since mom wasn’t a fan of Halloween. She remembers Christmas mornings at grandma’s and grandpa’s house with all of her cousins, aunts, and uncles then going on long hikes afterwards.
The list goes on and on but there are many milestones from her childhood that she remembers with fondness. This young man wants this for his children. He wants life to have celebrations, special family times, and his children to remember benchmark times in their lives. When he’s a grandpa, he wants a home where his grandchildren remember with fondness because he turned everything he could into a celebration.
There are more than a few Christians deciding not to celebrate holidays anymore since they don’t think they’re biblical. That’s their right to do so and I respect their convictions, but I disagree. When we celebrate Christmas, it revolves around Christ and family. The same goes for Thanksgiving and Easter. We always made holidays a joyous time for our children and now we get to celebrate them with our grandchildren.
Last Halloween, my husband and I went out to dinner because I decided I didn’t want to pass out candy at the door to the children who came knocking this time. When we returned, our street had turned into a massive, fun-neighborhood gathering. People were sitting out in front of their houses passing out candy, even the old lady across the street who had just lost her husband. There was music playing and another lady across the street was dressed up like a bunny and dancing as she gave children candy.
Then there was my house. The door darkened and I am the one who sits out in front of my home often with my grandchildren and other children in the neighborhood feeding them popcorn and watching them having a great time playing together. This Halloween, I will be passing out candy to the children who come to my home. I don’t like much about Halloween but I love my neighbors and the children who come to my home. It’s about community and spreading the love of Jesus to those around me.
My family will continue to celebrate holidays and birthdays. This dark world needs times of celebration and gatherings of families. Parents need to give their children as many happy memories from childhood as possible. Life is hard and short. If your children know that you live to glorify God and make sure that God is in your holiday celebrations, He will be glorified.
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
17 thoughts on “No Childhood Milestones Without Celebrating Holidays”
We don’t do a lot of material things related to Christmas. We do stockings and not fancy gifts. homemade gifts to one another are encouraged. We shop for gifts for people in need. We felt that’s the best way to celebrate the birth of Jesus by giving .
We have a ton of special traditions like going to view Christmas lights, hot cocoa around the fire, special Christmas breakfast, caroling, big family dinner, etc.
So our holiday is less commercial but still meaningful.
We didn’t buy into the secularization part of the holiday either. Our celebrations were simple without spending much money but so much fun!
Our holiday traditions are a special time for our nuclear and extended families, including Halloween. Trick-or-treating is a community activity, and has been enjoyed by my children for years, with no emphasis on evil. We always ended our evening sorting the candy, turning it into a math activity for the kids when they were younger. Last year, our church began a “Trunk or Treat” ministry in their parking lot. Each car decorated their trunk with a theme surrounding a story in the Bible’s timeline. Each car was given a script to share to each group as they stopped on the rotation. The cars near the end of the loop gave a clear Gospel presentation. Our family split up for the evening, with our older children serving in the ministry, and the younger children participating. It was a wonderful alternative to trick-or-treating, with the Biblical timeline, Jesus, and the Gospel as the focus.
Our house isn’t located in a neighborhood, so we don’t get trick-or-treaters, but I’ve read/heard ideas of decorating outside for Halloween that focus on God. Just last fall, Allie Beth Stuckey had her mother on her Relatable program to share her ideas.
Good for you, Lori. Spot on.
We recently started celebrating some of the biblical Jewish festivals. We celebrated Passover this year, and the memory of it has cemented itself in my oldest son’s mind. He often asks when we’re going to have another seder.
We also make an effort to make holidays Christ-centered. For example, we do a Jesse Tree at Christmas, and Resurrection Eggs leading up to Easter. We commemorate the Reformation at Halloween, and have a Thankfulness Tree the month before Thanksgiving so we can count all the ways God has blessed us.
We believe there is nothing inherently evil or wrong about celebrating holidays if you’re intentional about keeping the focus on the right things.
Oh, gosh. Christmas was wonderful until my mom remarried. No more Jesus in it. Just Santa. Further, my mom stuffed anger all year long and it always burst forth on Christmas Eve after a few too many drinks. She’d tear the tree apart, throw the ornaments, & break them. She wouldn’t touch our presents, but we woke up to a near bare tree. I hated it. Consequently, I always hated colored lights and glass ornaments on a tree. Honestly, but for going to church, I hated Christmas. We don’t do a tree, but put our few gifts on the hearth. I set up a village I painted on the mantle and a Nativity scene on a nearby hutch. My husband puts up lights.
We keep to the true celebration only. If we’d had kids, it probably would’ve been different.
We keep to simple gifts. I read a mom article in our paper and loved the idea.
Something we want,
Something we need,
Something to wear,
and Something to read.
We’ve been doing it ever since. We rarely spend much money, but it’s fun to find/make/etc. We do one gift on Christmas to celebrate Jesus’ birth and God’s gift to us of a savior. And 3 gifts on Epiphany to signify the gifts from the Wise Men. This is our own tradition.
We go to my mom’s neighborhood to Trick or Treat, and I’m always struck by the JOY of the evening. Neighbors reconnecting, children so happy, and so often it is the gruff “old” men with a bathrobe tucked around them opening the doors and handing out the candy, and I know they are just big softies. I’ve always felt bad for people who don’t participate, because it truly is the neighborhood coming together. I understand the arguments, and in many ways agree, but I think it’s also a great time to show Christ’s love.
There is a woman whose theology I disagree with, but who, after years of not participating, was convicted to share Christ this night, and has great ideas for Halloween signs: They all feature Jesus, with cute cartoons so as not to scare, of demons trembling at his name, “even zombies can have life in Jesus’ name”, “Jesus is the light of the world and light is stronger than darkness”, etc. 22 of them. Kids in Ministry Choose Life Not Death post has a picture of some of them. Might be a great jumping off place for people to create their own loving signs or even cards to go with the candy.
I’ve also given out pencils, stickers, and other items, along with candy, from Oriental Trading Co with scriptures and biblical truths, and the little children love that.
It’s a great way, in my view, to bless people – COMING RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR! – in any way the Lord lays on your heart. I see it as such a great opportunity. I agree with you, Lori, about the milestones of all Holydays and celebrating birthdays.
Yeah I come from a family like this guy.
I had 3 birthday parties. The first when I was 2 or 3 (I do remember it!), the second in 2nd grade, and the third in 4th grade.
Christmas was terrible. Absolutely terrible. I have no biological family other than my parents. The worst Christmas was when I put ketchup on my mashed potatoes (I still do that and consider it a completely normal thing to do) and got sent to my room for the rest of the day.
That was my Christmas.
I’m not bitter in the least.
I’m a little bitter.
My husband and I now do a lot of concerts during December. Boys Choirs are my thing. I don’t live in the U.S. anymore so there’s WAY more Christmas-y things to do than back home, which makes a huge difference.
Birthdays are special in our house, too. So is Xmas. I do think it’s become (in general) too commercialised, but our kids are only young for such a short time and we want them to have happy memories to look fondly back on.
I say this as I clean up from my “baby’s” 8th birthday yesterday. I spent literally all day creating a pirate ship/treasure island birthday cake. Blowing up balloons and hanging streamers. He didn’t want to celebrate with his friends, just his family, so that’s what we did.
I can’t see anything wrong or sinful at all about each child having a special day just for them once a year.
Yes, we as people need times to rest and celebrate! God gave the feast days to His people for them to do this. I personally believe that this was because the days were prophetic and pointing to God’s great plan of redemption. But also, this is a general principle that yes, we should have times to celebrate! I started keeping the feast days too, and I love them! What a wonderful way to remember God’s redemptive plan! Of course, I do not judge those who don’t keep them, but I greatly enjoy them. I also really love the American holidays Thanksgiving and 4th of July because I am so grateful to be an American, and I love celebrating my heritage. We have such a rich history in this country. Many of my male ancestors and relations fought for our freedom in several wars. Both of my grandfathers were in different branches of the military. I had one ancestor who was in the Texas navy during their fight for independence from Mexico. The same ancestor later joined the Texas Rangers. I felt so grieved when Texas removed that Texas Ranger’s statue from Dallas. It is part of my family’s heritage. They dishonor those men and their families when they do that.
Thank you so much for this post, Mrs. Alexander! I found it so uplifiting and encouraging. I have so many fond memories of my family’s celebrations during my childhood and hope to do many of the same for my family. I find these times to be excellent opportunities to show hospitality, and therefore, the love of Jesus!
I believe we should definitely celebrate holidays with joy and great gusto! Especially those that are supposedly “pagan.” Why? Because satan hates to hear our voices sing joyfully that our Savior has been born at Christmas. He hates to see neighbors exchange friendly greetings and have wholesome fun on Halloween. And satan hates to hear our cries of “He is risen! Alleluia!” on Easter. Celebrating so-called pagan holidays as Christian Holy Days is the ultimate victory over the demons and those who worship them. In Jesus there is victory over evil. Not celebrating allows satan to win because he has scared us into believing our faith and praise are not acceptable to God, or that God disapproves of joy and celebration of good things. That is so not true!
Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. – Ecc. 9:7
Commemorate is a word that could be used if one objects to the word celebrate.
Like the poem “Something we want…”
Christmas has always been very special for my kids. We had very little money when our family was young, so birthdays brought small gifts, although my wife would fix a special dinner for the birthday boy or girl. However, we would splurge as much as we could possibly afford on Christmas. Each gift was labeled “from Jesus” so the focus would be kept on the one who truly provided for our family. We would also read from one of the Gospels before opening gifts. I know the holiday made for a memorable time for my kids, but it also made for a very memorable time for my wife and I.
I love this post.
Kids should be kids. Let them have Christmas! Let them have Halloween! Easter, Birthday Parties…what is the harm in those things? Because it might take away from your kids chore time?
Let them play, be happy, have fun days, celebrate the Lord, get candy on Halloween.
Life can be fun if you make it that way.
For trick or treating the past couple of years we have put together treat bags with candy and a copy of the children’s Westminster Shorter catechism. My grandchildren help and then we pray God would use them for His glory.
Really Christmas is the one where we tend to focus the most on. We do make each birthday special but we don’t go overboard. We’re trying to be careful not to give them a sense of entitlement. Halloween is one my husband and I both agree we just can’t do. There’s so much evil that goes on we both feel uncomfortable participating in any way.