While the country still faces high unemployment and even higher prices on just about everything, media and technology continually put pressure to buy, buy newer, and buy better. With Christmas approaching, the pressures to give gifts to children, friends and family can sometimes be a burden so heavy that a sort of a depression develops. But when the wrapping is spread on the floor and all the presents are opened, what’s left? What really lasts and what really matters? I submit to you that it is only family and love.
When You Can’t Give – If you are currently unemployed, or you simply have no extra disposable income this year, what can you ‘give’? Giving a gift is a wonderful expression of love for someone, and is not wrong in and of itself. It does become a problem, however, when you feel pressure to meet a certain expectation or when you feel that you have to buy something new. Is there anything that you make, or any hobby you enjoy that can be made into a gift? A scrapbook, fresh baked goods, a great thrift store find…all of those things are great ideas to give a gift to a friend or family member.
Starting New Traditions – If your kids are young, remember that you set the tone of the holidays. If you keep a positive attitude about the holidays, they will to. Remember the best gift ever is your time. Start a new tradition to bake, watch Christmas movies with hot chocolate (which by the way is really, really easy to make homemade and tastes much better than packaged), or start family game nights while they are on school break.
For the Gift Exchange – If your family has a big gift exchange event, you can suggest picking names instead of everyone buying for everyone. You would no doubt relieve most everyone else at the suggestion of only buying for one person, and you would also simultaneously make the event less about presents and more about celebrating the holiday itself. Other ideas to make things a little more interesting with guaranteed laughter would of course be the “white elephant”. A “white elephant” is typically done with something you really want to get rid of or something that would just plain be silly to give as a gift. However, re-gifting has become more popular lately, and re-gifting events can actually be really nice things that the person just doesn’t need or want anymore, like a movie, a book, dishes, games, etc.
Feeling “Down” – The holidays can really highlight both financial and family problems, can’t they? If you are feeling down, remember what this holiday celebrates. This holiday celebrates how Jesus Christ became poor for us (2 Corinthians 8:9). We remember how Mary and Joseph had no room in the Inn but God provided for them. Jesus had much to say about the poor and the bible has many verses and examples of how God works through the down and out. Regardless of your situation and how bleak it seems – it will pass! Sometimes we just need to rework our thoughts and expectations and give thanks for the wonderful people and things we have in our lives.
For More Ideas – Here are some of my favorite resources for holiday ideas:
For Baking, King Arthur Flour has a staff that tests treats and even gives online support to problems you might encounter! Very well organized website, and many delicious treats to try!
Thrift store ideas-
Remember thrift stores often have games and toys for kids!
Enjoy – This holiday, make a goal to enjoy your family and live in the moment. Whether it’s staying in and enjoying the warmth of family and friends, or enjoying the outdoors and the snow and lights of the season, remember what really lasts. It’s not the toys, the wrapping, or even the decorations! What really will last are the memories and the love that you share with your family and friends.