Christmas Conversation #24: How do you respond to feeling like someone else “does Christmas better” than you?

By Stacey Tuttle

Do you have a Martha Stewart protégé for your neighbor?  You know the kind.  She has her Christmas decorations expertly in place the day after Thanksgiving, complete with all homemade ornaments that make even Christopher Radko green with envy.    She has fresh floral arrangements from her own greenhouse.  She plans a Christmas party every year and cooks every item on the elaborate buffet from scratch—all from recipes she created herself (oh, and her recipes are also in a cookbook that she e-published because of all the demand for them on her blog).  She even hand calligraphies the place cards and freezes colored ice cubes in the shapes of miniature Christmas trees and wreaths and little red-ball ornaments, just to make the beverages look more festive. 

Her gifts are all wrapped with beautiful paper and ornate bows and setting out under the tree…by December first.  Her gifts are the favorites with all of the teachers and the church personnel…and frankly, you feel that yours are an embarrassment next to hers, so you do your best to try to give yours before she does—it’s the only hope your little gifts have of being appreciated.  Which is a great plan, except, remember… she has hers all ready to go by December 1 while you haven’t even made out your list yet, much less gotten the gifts purchased and wrapped and delivered. 

I have known those types.  I envy them.  I envy their perfection as much as the beauty that surrounds them.  I love the perfect decorations and beautiful wrapped gifts and delicious, even ornate cooking…  But more than anything, I love the idea of having it all done ahead of time so I could really enjoy it all…so that maybe I too could put a little more effort into making something truly special, rather than just surviving and trying to have something at all.

What happens when you see those types?  What is your response?  Are you envious?  Does it inspire you to try to do more?  Do you suddenly want to make a little more effort because they really do make things so special, and you’d like to do that too?  Or do you feel overwhelmed by their perfection?  Do you just give up because you can never do what Ms. Martha Stewart does…so there’s no point in tryin’?     

It may not be that you are overwhelmed by someone’s decorative and culinary skills.  Maybe it’s their ability to be all-spiritual-like during the holidays.  Maybe it’s that family in your church who spends all Christmas serving in the homeless shelters.  The ones whose children spontaneously decide that they don’t want a single gift; they have enough.  They would like for their gifts instead to ALL be given to inner-city kids or orphans or starving kids in Africa.  They read the Christmas story as a family, outloud, EVERY night of the Christmas season…only they don’t even have to read it because they have all memorized it and recite it together… from memory. 

Again, I ask you.  What is your response?  Maybe a better question is what should be your response?   How do you handle it when you feel someone “does Christmas better” than you do?

Check out our other Christmas Conversations:

We have 25 different “conversations” going online and we’d love to hear your thoughts!  See the list below and add your two cents when and where you can, and benefit from the collective think tank as you go!

  1. How do you keep the spirit of giving in your Cristmas shopping?
  2. How do you bring Jesus into your shopping experience?
  3. What do you think about Christmas music?
  4. What’s the worst Christmas song and why?
  5. What’s your best idea for using a Christmas movie to spark a conversation about Christ?
  6. What’s the worst Christmas movie and why?
  7. What’s the most meaningful Christmas tradition that your family has?
  8. How do you get your kids attention (or even your own) off of the gifts you get?
  9. How much is too much when it comes to giving your kids gifts for Christmas?
  10. What are your favorite service-oriented things to do during Christmas?
  11. Is Santa a naughty or nice Christmas tradition and why?
  12. What Christmas traditions have you chosen not to follow, and what have you replaced them with?
  13. If you’ve chosen to do Santa, how can you use him to point your kids to Jesus?
  14. Do lighting displays add to or detract from the real meaning of Christmas?
  15. What kinds of gifts can you give to non-Christian friends that make Jesus attractive?
  16. What are your best ideas for using Christmas to spur conversations about Jesus?
  17. Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas – Does it really matter?
  18. Should we boycott stores based on Christian principles during the Holidays?
  19. How do you deal with the Grinches in your life this Christmas?
  20. How do you deal with Christmas as a joyous family time when family is hard? 
  21. What do you know about the Biblical concept of hospitality and how do you apply that during the Christmas season?
  22. How do you find spiritual refreshment in the midst of an exhausting season?
  23. When do the excesses of Christmas cross the line from communicating the lavishness of God’s love for us to fostering excess, greed and pride?
  24. How do you respond to feeling like someone else “does Christmas better” than you?
  25. What is the most meaningful Christmas memory you have?