Back in the day, black families could look forward to the holidays as a time to catch up with family members, see and play with all the new babies, nieces, nephews and grand kids, and most importantly, say blessings and break bread over tables laden with mouth watering concoctions from Mama and grand mama's kitchen. Turkey, ham, baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, black eye peas and rice, sweet potatoes, corn bread, sweet potato pie and banana pudding. The list of these delights went on and on, depending on what household you lived in. No matter what the fare, mama and grand mama would always turn it out! We'd eat those heaping plates of food with smiles on our faces, warmth in our hearts and the joy of being around all those who we loved and who loved us. Back in the day when family was a most important tradition in the Black community, Christmas was King!
Flash forward a few generations, and you might think that some have lost the spirit. Families are now not as intact, daddies are not in all the homes the way they used to be, doing the man thing and putting up the tree, and many of us are too independent and have broken away from the family unit to do our own thing. Sometimes, this is for good reason. Staying close to the family for some can be stifling and can inhibit one's growth in certain ways. However, even if it's only once or twice a year, we should all try to hold on to what little tradition and spirit of family that we still do have. If it takes the holidays to do it, by all means, embrace the holidays and be with your family for all its worth. Even if it's a family that really gets on your nerves, you can stand it for at least one or two days! ;)
We get so caught up in the commercialism of Christmas that we often forget that this entire holiday is really the celebration of Christ's birth. We as adults know this, but it can go right over the children's heads if you allow it to. All they're thinking about is getting an XBox, Dora the Explorer, DJ Hero or the Wii. Older children see it as an opportunity to get some cash from aunts and uncles to go out and buy stuff. The television and all other media shows us sale after sale with jolly, hearty Santas ready to deliver us all these gifts as long as we're willing to go deep into our pockets to pay for it all. Somehow, in the midst of all that the true meaning of this holy day gets lost. It's up to you as the parent and the adult to make sure that doesn't happen. At least not at your house.
Even while you're doing the shopping, the decorating and the cooking, don't forget to sit your children and family down to teach them the real meaning of Christmas. This can be done with books, the holiday programs that come on TV (like the story of Jesus' birth that comes on every year), old pictures of you and your family celebrating Christmas when you were young, and if you are one who still does manage to get there from time to time, holiday church services.
You don't have to shove it down their throats, but do make sure that they know it and understand the true meaning of Christmas. It's not just about what's on sale and what's under the tree.