“That sweater she won’t like, that random gift card, that toy he doesn’t need.”
Why do we spend so much money on gifts that lack meaning at Christmastime?
Could it be that we believe the $ spent directly represents our love?
Our culture may tell us so. And we do love these people, so we spend, spend, spend.
The only problem is, it’s just not true. I would suggest there are better ways to show love than spending the most money.
And what are the results of mindless or excessive gift-giving anyway?
Oftentimes it’s debt, stress, waste, selfishness, idolatry and entitlement.
Is it really fulfilling?
I would say, overall, no. Overall, it runs the risk of detracting from the true purpose of Christmas, celebrating the coming Christ. In fact, in many cases it actually promotes the opposite, celebration of self and the overvaluing of everything temporal, worldly and meaningless.
Advent Conspiracy (the book) puts it like this,
“Many American Christians have decided they can, to put it bluntly, love both God and money.”
But the Bible says, no, we can’t. (Matthew 6:24)
That’s a big part of why my family has changed the way we spend money at Christmastime. We’ve taken a bit step back from the cultural madness that is the American Christmas. We spend a pretty modest amount on gifts for our family, friends and children.
Oftentimes, I would say that a carefully selected or handmade gift shows love better than something off the top shelf. Oftentimes, people are more blessed by a humble gift that’s truly from the heart, not intended to impress or fulfill an unwritten obligation.
And for me as the giver, I love giving Christmas gifts now more than ever. There is no mad Black Friday dash. No buying things just because they’re cheap. No perusing of the gadgety, last-minute gift sections at the front of stores. No hot chocolate gifts sets, lotions, or socks.
I’m not saying that giving these things is wrong at all, in fact I love getting fuzzy socks from my parents for Christmas. It’s all about context and knowing the person to whom you’re giving the gift rather than spending money randomly and excessively.
My intention is not to put restrictions on you for what you should and shouldn’t give at Christmas, but instead to FREE you to approach the holiday differently, even if the end result is the same.
Giving Christmas gifts shouldn’t be a strain. If it is, rethink what you’re doing and the amount you’re spending.
Hopefully your gifts will be given out of a sincere heart, and you’ll know you don’t have to spend the most money to express the most love.
So if I spend less money at Christmas, what exactly do I give to those on my list?
Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about on the blog next week. So stay tuned!
Meanwhile, to get the big picture, watch this video if you haven’t already.