give meaning

10 12 2009

I wanted to follow up on a guest blog that I posted on Lovable Labels’ blog: Label Me Crazy! Taking a reduce-reuse perspective, I commented on a few tips to minimize the traditional holiday paper pile-up…. from holiday postcards to recycling kids’ art as gift wrap… making fabric gift bags to buying alternative Christmas gifts – gifts that don’t need flashy gift wrap.  I have really settled in to contemplating alternative gift giving.  My boys are still very young and our nuclear family is still in its infancy so it’s a perfect time to start traditions.  At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the priceless gift of salvation that he gave us.  Santa Claus (and I’m referring to the iconic jolly man in the red suit) is incidental.  To me, he’s kind of like Mickey Mouse – cartoonish, fun, you can get your picture taken with him and we might pretend that he gave you a present, but he’s just a character in a story that, coincidentally, is told at the same time as when we celebrate the coming of God to earth.  I just don’t want them to grow up anticipating presents, presents, presents under the tree.  I want them to learn early on that at Christmas we give – and we are intentional about being creative and giving to those who have more need than we do.

So, here are a few great ideas for alternative gift giving:

Buy Nothing Christmas – I think this initiative has had the greatest impact on me so far.  “Buy Nothing Christmas is a national initiative started by Canadian Mennonites but open to everyone with a thirst for change and a desire for action.  Buy Nothing Christmas is a stress-reliever, and more people need to hear about it… The point is to get people thinking. It’s an idea whose time has come, so get out there and make a difference!”  These guys have hit the proverbial nail on the head (and I’m not partial because I have a Mennonite heritage!).  If you go to their website and click on “alternatives” you will discover over 50 special gifts you can give that require little or no spending.  I have one of my own which I’m keeping under “wraps” … if you will pardon the pun!

TOMS Shoes – I think this is really cool.  “TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we’re all about.”  When Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS shoes was in Argentina in 2006, he realized that he wanted to help children who wore no shoes to protect their feet.  Today, when you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, another pair will be given to a child who has no shoes.

World Vision – “Canada’s Most Meaningful Gifts.”  For $30 you can give 3 soccer balls to children in an underdeveloped country or for $100 you can gift immunizations to a community.  It costs roughly $15,000 to drill a well that will provide up to 11,000 litres of clean water a day.  You can purchase a share in a well project for $2500.  We have friends who are raising money for this special gift by selling bottled water for $10 a piece… something you could bring to a party as a hostess gift.  How awesome to have a global impact and demonstrate ways our children can connect with children overseas.

My challenge to you: come up with one way this year to simply change your perspective on gift giving and re-orient to the meaning of Christmas.  Engage your creative side!

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3 responses

10 12 2009
Laura

Your blog has me rethinking in a good way!! Thanks for all your creative ideas!

16 12 2009
Lisa Cacace

I love what you wrote. It is definitely how we feel and thanks for giving us food for thought on the gift giving. I have thought about adopting a family and when this is appropriate for the boys to learn. Really, anytime! Earlier propably better as it will become a natural part of our celebration of this joyous time.

22 12 2009
Bonita

Another great website is adventconspiracy.org with lots of inspirational ideas for worshipping fully, spending less, giving more, loving all.

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