Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Too Early To Be Thinking About Christmas?

I think not... this Blog entry is mostly directed to my immediate family, but please feel free to read on. I welcome your comments and/or suggestions.

In past years, I have been overwhelmed, stressed and bewildered with the gift giving aspect throughout the Christmas season. Many of us take the idea of gift giving back to the scripture in Matthew 2:10-11, which talks about the three wise men giving gifts to Jesus.

Does giving gifts have to take away from the true meaning of Christmas? Absolutely not. However, the focus needs to be on the wonderful gift of salvation the Lord has given us, it is a natural expression of that gratefulness for us to give to others. The key here is our "focus". Is your focus on the gift, or the ultimate gift-giver, our gracious heavenly father?

Of course, gift giving is not a bad thing, however we (the family) spend an insane amount of money on these gifts each Christmas and I think it's time for us to change our "focus" a bit. We have all been blessed with lovely homes, good paying jobs and good health. We are so lucky to actually have the means to be able to purchase the things we need on a daily basis and be able to purchase Christmas gifts for our loved ones when so many other families cannot. It has prompted me to think about some new ways of gift giving over the Christmas season.

One obvious way would be to take the money spent on unnecessary gifts and donate it to a church in your name, or adopt a needy family. Every community has a Red Cross, Salvation Army, or even a Walmart where you can pick a family or child who is in need of a coat, mittens, food, etc. How about those protecting our great country? They will gladly accept a Christmas care package or a simple Christmas card! (Click here for instructions on how). Point is, there are many, many organizations where money can be donated, especially during the Christmas season. Wouldn't it be great to pull our money together as a family and donate it to someone who is really in need this Christmas?

Now, I don't know of anyone who doesn't like receiving a gift. So, how about mixing up the family get together a bit and instead of purchasing a gift for every niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, mom, dad, boyfriend, dog, etc., why not purchase ONE gift to exchange with one person? Ever heard of the "Chinese Gift Exchange", also known as the "Yankee Swap" or "White Elephant Gift Exchange?" During my research, I was surprised to learn that Wikepedia actually had information about this popular gift exchange game played throughout the US and Canada. Click here to learn more. I think it would be a fun yet inexpensive way to exchange gifts, while still sharing in our yearly Christmas tradition. What do you think?

I just wanted to get the family thinking ahead of time about our gift giving strategy this Christmas. If anyone has any other gift giving ideas, or if you know of a specific organization who may be in need of a special offering this Christmas, I propose that we discuss it further.

**Readers: feel free to send me your thoughts and/or gift giving ideas.

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