He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.  Roy L. Smith

With the holidays sneaking up around the corner, it’s easy to get caught up in the flurry of shopping and gifts and lights. The trimmings, the trappings. Before you know it, the peace and joy of the Christmas season have been buried beneath the stress of shopping and credit card bills.

When I wanted to redefine the true meaning of Christmas, I learned that my kids had a front row seat for this project.

You might not realize it, but the way you celebrate Christmas now is the way your kids are going to celebrate Christmas 20 years from now. Do you really want them buried beneath gift-giving debt and a need to keep up with the Joneses? Or do you want to help them, and yourself, rediscover what it really means to have the Christmas spirit?

If you’re looking for something a little more than what’s under the tree to share with your kids this year, pick something off this list and give it a whirl.

It doesn’t matter where. A nursing home. A soup kitchen. An orphanage. A pet shelter. Anywhere there’s a need.

2, Sponsor a child from the angel tree.

Every year, organizations come together to help families in need. This year, stop and pluck a name off one of those trees and give Christmas to a child who otherwise might be waking up to an empty stocking Christmas morning.

3. Make this the year of homemade gifts.

It doesn’t matter what it is, or how much or how little you have to give. It doesn’t even matter how talented you are. Take the dollar signs out of Christmas and give a little piece of yourself. It’ll make Christmas matter even more.

4. Host a Christmas Eve dinner for friends, especially those that might not have family in the area.

5. Go caroling.

There’s more to Christmas than gifts, and there’s nothing like the music of the season to put a little joy, peace and love in your hearts!