The Ghost of Christmas Past

3 Ways to Enjoy The Memories Of Christmas

In Charles Dickens’ classic story, the ghost of Christmas past served as a reminder of happier times. They were times that Ebenezer Scrooge had long since forgotten. Scrooge was once a happy man and was kind to all who knew him. Somewhere in time, however, he lost his way and turned into a grouchy, lonely miser without joy in his life.

But what about your ghost of Christmas past? If you were visited by a former version of yourself in January or February of next year, what would the experience bring? Would it bring the regret of overspending and the debt to prove it? Or would it bring the peace of knowing that you spent well, accumulated no debt, and thoroughly enjoyed the act of giving?

These days, my goal is the latter. The first part of my life however, was spent with the former. For years, I spent too much per person, with no real thought of how my spending for Christmas would impact the next few months or year of my life. And so often, there was not much to show for it. The gifts given to the kids in my life were outgrown quickly. A sweater or trinket for an adult may be appreciated, but did the gift really create a special moment for the recipient? I rarely stopped long enough to find out.

It became empty giving, with the true meaning of Christmas lost.

So how do you keep the ghost of Christmas past from becoming one of regret? I’m glad you asked. Below are 3 ways I believe you can reminisce with joy of fonder times.

Give from the heart. It really isn’t about the dollar amount. Heart gifts go beyond the money spent. They touch a person in a way that transcends cost. Perhaps it’s a batch of homemade cookies for a neighbor who’s recently lost a loved one. Or maybe it’s the mending of a sweater for a family member who never seems to get to it.

One year, a friend of mine got his wife’s high school violin restrung. It was something she thoroughly enjoyed and a teenager and he thought she might do so again.

For me, it was a set of Charlie Brown dictionaries a friend found for me on eBay one year. The gift itself cost her less than $10, but I was so thankful to have them again after mine were lost. I actually still have them and count them among my precious possessions!

Give within your means. I remember a Christmas years ago when a different friend bought his wife a very nice piece of jewelry. It was a grand gift and she fawned all over everyone during dinner showing it off, but the pained expression on his face told a different story.

They truly could not afford the extravagance and he had gone into debt to buy it. While she paraded the necklace around for all to see, he was more focused on trying to make sure the payments on it would be covered in January.

Give without comparison. The comparison trap can ruin the best Christmas. Trading $40 sweaters does not evoke the true reason for the season. This one truly evokes the question “what would Jesus do?”

Can our gift ever compare to the Ultimate Gift? Since ours will always pale in comparison, let’s not compare each other’s gift. Accepting the gift with the love if was given is a much better response than “how much did it cost you?”

Focus on the love and care you have for the person giving/receiving the gift and leave the cost comparison to a different holiday…like tax day!

Prepare to Give Well

So as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let’s remember that the ghost of Christmas past can bring with it lots of fond memories. The choice is ultimately ours.

I would love to hear some of your favorite Christmas memories. Feel free to share below.

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Thanks for hanging out with me this week.

Until next encouraged!