How to Give More without Spending More This Christmas: Advent Conspiracy
Last week on the blog, I talked about why you should spend less this Christmas.
But that presents a problem, does it not? Many of us desire to step away from the consumeristic side of Christmas, while we also desire to give special gifts to those in our lives at Christmas.
Gift giving is a godly thing after all. Jesus modeled this by giving us His very self at Christmas. So why not follow His lead? Instead of giving random what-nots, why not give gifts that include and reflect a piece of our heart? Our tangible presence? Our time?
Here are three types of gifts to consider giving to those on your list this Christmas:
1. Relational Gifts
Rather than giving a costly yet impersonal gift, strive for a gift that represents time spent together, that enhances and reflects your relationship with that person.
For example, last year my husband gave me a getaway for Christmas, just the two of us. He created a fake airline ticket to give me at Christmas, then executed the trip later in the year. He planned everything and then surprised me. It was a wonderful time to reconnect with him. It was the best kind of gift.
Another example of this might be giving a gift that represents a relationship, such a scrapbook of special memories with that person, or a jar filled with scraps of paper on which are written things you appreciate about them.
Photo gifts can be a relational gift as well. We make photo calendars for the grandparents each year, and they are appreciated.
Advent Conspiracy gives the following example:
“A young man buys his father a pound of coffee beans with one stipulation: Dad can only enjoy this gift with his grown son. And in the hours and days it will take to drink those cups of coffee, that son just wants to listen to his dad tell stories as the two of them get reacquainted.”
That son gave himself. Such a simple gift meant more to the father than any amount of tools or neck ties or electric razors.
I’ve also heard of a family who, on Christmas, give each family member the chance to plan a family outing of their choice. They all sit together and reveal their wish and conspire for the fun they will have on these various adventures.
For more ideas, check out Advent Conspiracy’s Pinterest board of relational gift ideas.
2. Homemade Gifts
The beautiful thing about homemade gifts is that they represent the time, effort, and creative stamp of the giver. It’s personal.
What’s more, they often cost less than buying gifts, all while (hopefully) meaning more to the recipient.
With the money that you save on Christmas gifts, you’ll be able to make a profound impact in the life of another when you put it to good work “Loving All.” I’ll share more about that next week.
And let’s not forget coupons. My daughter brought this home from church last weekend. It was heart-melting. I loved it. We made cookies the very next day.
3. Gifts that Give Back
Do you ever consider the human cost of what you’re buying? Do you consider what you’re supporting with the dollars you spend? Often my selfish mentality prefers not to consider these questions, but rather to get the most I can get for my money, regardless of where or how it was made.
But the truth is, our purchases have a moral consequence. So, perhaps this Christmas “giving more” means you will purchase gifts that give twice. Gifts with a conscience.
I’ve compiled a few online shops where proceeds go not only to benefit tradesmen and women around the globe, they do so in the name of Jesus.
If you know of other similar causes, please let me know in the comments section.
Eternal Threads. In their own words, “Eternal Threads is dedicated to improving the lives of women and children most at risk of extreme poverty, trafficking and other forms of exploitation by providing sustainable livelihoods through income generating projects.” Very cool.
The Mercy Shop. Mercy House houses needy, unwed mothers in a Kenyan slum, most of them very young teenagers and often the victims of rape. Mercy Shop is a way to raise money for this ministry and these mothers by teaching them skills and marketing their crafts worldwide.
Fair Trade Friday. This site supports artisans from around the world by marketing their products so they can earn a sustainable living.
Living Water International Store. Buy cute products and know you’re supporting the worldwide clean water initiative in the name of Jesus.
Or give a gift in honor of your special someone.
World Vision. This website allows you to make a purchase for an impoverished person in a third world country in honor of someone here. World Vision sends you a card to give to the honoree explaining the gift. I was once given the gift of giving (how’s that for a tongue twister?) two chickens to a family in Asia. It was a refreshing gift in the midst of all the Christmas gift giving.
Living Water International gift cards. This charity allows you to purchase a “donation gift card.” This can be given at Christmas. Afterwards, the recipient goes onto their website and watches videos to select which projects the towards which the donation will be designated. This creates ownership for the recipient, which is just cool.