Why You Should Spend Less This Christmas: Advent Conspiracy

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“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.

Financial realities also helped us along this path, but now that we’ve discovered icn-spend-lessthis freedom, we won’t go back, because it’s not about what we can afford, it’s about choosing to do it differently.

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.

Black Friday in San Francisco

Photo credit

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.

And check out the Advent Conspiracy website here: www.adventconspiracy.org


[disclaim]There are NO affiliate links contained in this post. I am not profiting and neither is AC, just sharing about a resource I’ve found helpful for your benefit.[/disclaim]

Graphics credit: adventconspiracy.org


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  1. Heather says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post, Katie! Thanks so much for sharing this. My family participates in the Advent Conspiracy as a part of our annual gift exchange. I wrote about it on my blog, if you’re interested (Christmas in July). For our family, this makes our Christmas so much more meaningful. Many blessings to you and yours!

  2. Kirsten says:

    I’m all for spending less and choosing one or two well-planned gifts for close family. My problem is how some of that family doesn’t LIKE that approach. My sister in law sent my daughter 4 Disney Princess baby dolls last year, complete with accessories. Easily hundreds of dollars total. I sent her boy an activity box subscription. He doesn’t really need anything and I thought it might be a fun thing for him to get each month for a couple of months. But I’ve been told there is animosity about the disparity. Which is silly for lots of reasons. And this is just one example. I wish more people remembered the reason for the season and stopped the tit for tat gifting that so many get wrapped up in!

    • Wow Kirsten. That’s really hard. I sad that you have that kind of pressure. Would it be possible to have a conversation about it and let your sister-in-law know how much you plan to spend ahead of time? That’s something I did with family a few years ago and it went well, although I don’t think there would have been hard feelings in any case in my situation. I hope God gives you wisdom for this!

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