I don't want to harp on about the true meaning, we all know the true meaning, and if you don't - well go and enjoy yourself with your flexible friend.
In the world of a family with children, Christmas is about 'stuff' and knowing what 'stuff' your child wants is just the most impossible task.
Even they don't know what they want (apart from my 8 year old who has a list as long as your arm, filled with 'plastic fantastic').
If money were no object we could just go out and get them expensive 'stuff' that they don't want or need, but would probably be pretty impressed with. But I wouldn't do that anyway, so money isn't the issue.
I am quite happy to let the weeks go by, and I know that by Christmas morning the kids will have 'stuff', not sure where it'll appear from, but we've never let them down yet and I doubt we will this year; but my husband is panicking, "we have to go and get them something, time's running out"!
Our parents are panicking, "what do they want us to buy for them?" "I DON'T KNOW!" I don't even know what they want me to buy for them!
Time's running out for what? The end of the world? (December 21st by the way, so I really don't need to think about Christmas until we're sure that hasn't happened).
I blame the wise men. Without them Christmas would not be about 'stuff'. Did they run around in a panic about their gifts? Did they constantly enquire of Mary "what does he want?" Did she say "well don't get him Frankincense 'cos I know Melchior's getting him that". Were Gaspar and Balthazar stopping off on the journey to Bethlehem in every little corner trading stand because they'd left it to the last minute, and hadn't bought something before they'd left, and then fighting over who was going to give him the Gold? Because let's face it, that's gonna look like a much better gift than Myrrh.
Maybe Melchior regretted being so organised in already having purchased his Frankincense and wished he'd waited, so he could've chosen to give the Gold? who knows?
And maybe, just maybe, Joseph and Mary and little baby Jesus, would've just been pleased to see them, even if they had brought nothing. Maybe they would've just said "thank you for coming to celebrate the birth of God's son, thank you for taking the time to visit us and coming on such a long journey. We haven't got a very big Turkey, but we'll make it stretch, and if it doesn't? who cares?"
So, every Christmas, that's what gets me down, trying to find the right 'stuff' for the right person, so that they can open it on Christmas day, look at it on Boxing day, and discard it by New Year.
Oh, and as for putting a tree? Inside your house? Whose great idea was that? The shepherds I suppose.
Disclaimer: For an accurate account of the Christmas story please go to: Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20.