Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alternative Christmas Gifts

Are you getting buried in STUFF?  Is clutter taking over your home?  Are you living with an abundance?  I challenge you to rethink your Christmas giving this year. 

Think about the TRUE meaning of Christmas.  Yes, getting stuff is fun.  Giving stuff is even more fun.  But does Aunt Thelma really need another holiday sweater?  Do the kids really need a new pile of toys?  How many holiday ties does your hubby need?

I have been challenged lately.  After watching some episodes of "Clean House" and "Hoarders," I began to really think about our stuff and our attachments to that stuff.  I admit, there are a few things in my home that I would be hard pressed to part with - namely a few furniture pieces from my grandmother for sentimental reasons.  Should I be so attached to things?  There are so many that have so little.  So many that struggle to even provide enough meals for their children.

With our abundance, how can we bless others during this Christmas season?  Oh - there are so many ways!
  • Gather toys that your kids no longer play with.  Donate these toys to a homeless shelter, battered women's shelter, or soup kitchen.  Have your kids help so they learn about blessing others.
  • Take items from your stockpile (toiletry items for example) and donate them.  Many hospital ICU's have items stored for family members who arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Homeless shelters often donate these items to those who need them.  Donate extra pantry items to the food bank.  Food banks are having a harder time than ever keeping their shelves stocked - especially at months end.
  • Donate gently used clothing to various organizations.
How does all of this fit with alternative Christmas gifts?  Well, I wanted to set the groundwork of altering our thinking before introducing these other ideas.  Consider these ideas.  Consider using them to change your family's outlook on the holiday.  Make Christmas so much more than just the STUFF.
  • Purchase items for those in need in honor of someone.  Rather than get Aunt Thelma that sweater, put that money toward some chickens for needy in Asia.  Provide plenty of nutritous eggs for a starving family through the Gospel for Asia.
  • Sponsor a child or provide disaster relief in someone's name through World Vision.  I donated money in friends' names for the tsunami disaster a few years ago.
  • In someone's name, help a person unable to walk get up off the ground by purchasing a wheelchair for them.  All over the world, people who are crippled are either confined to home or destined to a life of crawling around.  By giving a wheelchair, you give freedom, independence, and dignity.  New this year - send a free wheelchair Christmas card and the recipient gets to choose WHERE the wheelchair will go!  Super cool!  The Free Wheelchair Mission is very close to my heart.
Look in to your heart.  Evaluate your priorities for the holidays.  Be creative!  Bless the socks off of others - there is nothing better!


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