Today I am feeling pretty great. I dropped into a local store and bought a hat and a purse for myself. Saving 20 percent I only spent $20. Woo hoo! I could do this without the familiar guilt of buying things for myself because this year our family is committed to the spirit of Christmas, not the expectations of Christmas.
We drew names and will make a gift (not spending more than $10 on materials) for that one person or we can give our person something of our own that is valuable in some way.
For the others in our family we are purchasing or making gifts which represent one of the four Advent themes: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. These gifts must be different than the personal gift and cannot be more than $5.00.
We encourage resale shopping, flea marketing, garage sale items, and thrift stores. It doesn't matter where the gift comes from as long as it has a meaning beyond utility and vanity.
We’ve made gifts before. I made cookbooks for the older kids who were preparing to leave home; it had recipes for most of their favorite ‘mom’ dishes. Our son wrote a family poem and gave each of us a copy. Our daughter made me some earrings and a CD of favorite songs for my husband.
And I've given thrift store gifts before. Last year my son's girlfriend was the recipient of a wonderful purple coat compliments of the Goodwill. She was delighted. She has such a humble spirit which I really love!
So many times gifts are opened, oooed and awed over for a while and then tossed aside. Many of my husband's gifts are still in their original packages waiting for him to figure out what to do with them. As I helped him pack up his work office for a recent move I packed up many pictures drawn for him and framed for him.
Gifts of ourselves are treasures.
I’ve never been comfortable with the whole spending a ton of money (which we do not have and then suffer for months because of) one time a year to celebrate a Christ who gives to us daily.
Christmas time is not really the time to get what is needed—we can (and should as we are able) meet needs anytime. Christmas is not really the time to get what is not needed (frivolous); gifts for the fun of it are always welcome!
Christmas is an opportune time to really zoom in and reflect on the gifts God has placed inside each of us and to assess how we are using these gifts to glorify God, enrich the lives of others, and build the Kingdom.
Inside each of us is the gift of creativity, after all, we are created in the image of an Omificent God (unlimited in creative power). Some create with needles and thread. Some with wood, metal, stones, paint, clay, ice.
Some create with words, music, song, dance. Some create with processes, systems, organization, clean spaces. Some create through pulling together spices and ingredients to make savory drinks, foods, healing oils, fragrances.
Some create hairstyles, some create with technology.
Everyone has the ability to create something. This Christmas season share your creativity with those around you. Enrich lives and glorify God with the totality of your being. Don’t be tricked into commercial traps. You have everything in you that you need!
This year give the gift of YOU to those you love. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving!
What are your creative gifts and how will you share them this year?