Lately God has been challenging my thinking regarding those things I accept as necessary ingredients to a “good” Christmas. Every year seems to be the same for me. I struggle to cram Jesus into our crazy December schedule – right in there with the stacks of Christmas cards that I feel obligated to mail, the half a dozen or so parties we must attend, and the frenzied visits I have to make to the mall. The “I-Wants” seem to get the best of all of us, and even I end up making a long list of things I just have to have. I don’t want to have my focus hijacked by consumerism each December, but it sure happens anyway. And every year I’m left feeling disgusted by how I allowed stuff to steal my attention away from what I really want to be celebrating: my Redeemer, my Rescuer, Jesus.
We made quite a few changes this year, trying to focus our energy on what matters, and distribute our resources in a way that more accurately reflects our family’s goals and convictions. I recently stumbled upon some interesting resources online that God has been using to challenge me to make even bigger changes next year. I hope you enjoy them too.
Advent Conspiracy. About a month ago, I stumbled across this video about the staggering amount of money that is spent on Christmas gifts every year, and how a just a small portion of that money would be enough to save lives.
Happy Birthday Jesus. One of the things we are going to do this year is have a birthday party for Jesus, complete with gifts that we give to Him. This site offers some great free resources.
Buy Nothing Christmas. This site presents an intriguing argument against celebrating Jesus’ birthday by spending obscene amounts of money on gifts. While I’m not ready to say I agree with everything here, a lot of it did make sense to me and definitely started me thinking. I really loved their purpose:
“Buy Nothing Christmas is a national initiative started by Canadian Mennonites who offer a prophetic “no” to the patterns of overconsumption of middle-class North Americans. They are inviting Christians (and others) all over Canada to join a movement to de-commercialize Christmas and re-design a Christian lifestyle that is richer in meaning, smaller in impact upon the earth, and greater in giving to people less-privileged.”
We’ve decided that some of our gifts this year, and an even greater number of our gifts next year will be handmade. Here are some of the websites where I found great homemade gift ideas:
Ruby Glen. This website had some great inexpensive handmade gift ideas.
Get Rich Slowly. This site offers cool ideas for homemade gifts.
Not Martha. One of the ideas on the Get Rich Slowly site referenced a project for homemade magnets. I thought they were adorable, plus it led me to a site that offers lots of great craft ideas. And, I love the name of the site: “Not Martha”, as in Stewart…
Family Crafts. This site offers lots of great gifts kids can make.
Moms Who Think. This site offered handmade gift ideas for different age groups.