What a joyous time of year! So many things to do: shopping, addressing cards, choosing gifts, baking, visiting, and the list goes on. This time of year gives many people pleasure and excitement, yet for some, a sense of dread and loneliness. In this modern era, the joy of Christ is pushed to the side for the materialism that Christmas has become. Consumers are bombarded with the start of the season along side back to school shopping. We have been conditioned to “think of everyone” by purchasing them a gift. How can we think of everyone and be financially sound at the end of the month? Have you ever received a gift that was later re-gifted? Chances are each of us has re-gifted an item at one time or another. Why do we drive ourselves crazy buying up anything and everything? It’s because we want others to know how much we care for them. Likely, the people in our lives already know how much we care for them. Now that the list is made, it’s time to get going. Wading through the crowded stores to find just the right gift can be both confusing and frustrating. Shopping on-line can be helpful, but all too often retailers entice us to purchase more to avoid shipping costs. Retailers reward the gift givers by giving away an additional gift card for the purchaser. Now both the giver and receiver get gifts. What’s a savvy shopper to do?
For many, Christmas has become a financial burden and a rat race that leaves a feeling of exhaustion. The day is supposed to be marked as a celebration of the birth of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How can we re-focus our attention to what Christmas is meant to represent? To live differently, one has to think differently. That’s easier said than done. Instead of full filling the “wish list” for the family, perhaps consider full filling a need list for someone you may never meet.
- Give with purpose to a charity that helps others in the honor of someone
- Adopt a needy family
- Prepare freezer meals for an elderly or shut-in
- Purchase gifts from a fair trade organization
- Give a gift of time like baby sitting or dinner out
- Host a pot luck to bring others together
- Volunteer to ring the Salvation Army bell as a family
Last year, our family began to streamline our gift giving. We have parents that really don’t need anything and usually purchase what they want. Our siblings usually exchange gift cards to restaurants, which is the same each year. We tried exchanging names in the past, but some of the family didn’t want to participate because it was too draining financially. Instead of purchasing gifts for the adults in our family, we decided donate to charities in their honor. My office typically adopts a family for Christmas instead of exchanging gifts for each other. There are many ways to celebrate Christmas and many ways to glorify the birth of Christ. What Christmas memories and traditions will you leave?
health-bite: give a gift that will last---yourself