The Jesus Box
My family has never celebrated Christmas like the typical American family, and though I wasn't a huge fan of it as a kid (because I didn't always get presents), I've come to love the traditions my family practiced.
My favorite tradition was something called "The Jesus Box." Every year, after Thanksgiving, my mom would take a shoebox, wrap it with pretty paper and cut a whole in the top. She would place the box, some slips of paper, and pencils in the living room and leave them there until Christmas day. Throughout the month, my family was to use the slips of paper to write down what we were going to give Jesus that year. When I was younger, I would write things such as "my favorite Barbie doll," but as I got older I would give Him more time or my heart or my affection. When guests came to visit they were asked to put something in the Jesus Box as well, and since my parents were pastors we also had a box at our church for the congregation to fill. So on Christmas morning, instead of waking up early to open our presents, we woke up early to open the Jesus box. We would pray over the slips of paper as we read them and offer them to Jesus.
When I begin a family of my own, I'm definitely going to continue this tradition because it helped us realize, at an early age, what the day was all about. There's nothing wrong with getting gifts, and sometimes my parents would surprise us and give us presents on Christmas Eve or on my brother's birthday, which is the 23rd, but we were given a great opportunity to be like the wise men. We didn't seek the Savior to see what we could receive from Him, but we sought to bless Him with gifts from our heart. I think we would all be very wise to not lose focus of the reason for the season and offer Him our best. Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum^-^