Christmas Conversation #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?

by Stacey Tuttle

I hear it all the time.   A couple gets married and discovers that their families had very different ideas about how they celebrated Christmas.  Not just in their traditions, but in the way they gave.  Some see this as an opportunity to be lavish.  And it’s not always that they are just unable to control their spending.  Sometimes it is their heart to communicate the lavishness of God’s love.  They love to give; they love to decorate; they love to fully experience every piece of it. 

The other spouse however came from a more Spartan family.  They took a more simple approach to the holidays, focusing on meaning and tradition, and less on gifts and decorations.  They didn’t want anything to distract from Jesus in the season, so they were minimal in their gift giving.  They would say the other family is just fostering greed and consumerism and entitlement. 

Where is the balance?  Are there some basic guidelines to help us know when we have gone too far?  What are some principles we can use to help keep our hearts in check?

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?