Every year I say I’m going cold turkey. “No more gifts!” I exclaim. (Last December, there may have been foot-stomping involved.) I hate that I buy many gifts out of obligation, but I do it. Another sweater, last-minute chocolate for a stocking, or Amazon gift card. Generic, half-hearted products I whisk upstairs to wrap and hope they will appease the people I love. Every Christmas Eve, our tree practically cowers behind the castle wall of iridescent packages and gleaming bows, a veritable fortress of stuff. I stare at the lights and wish I could find the meaning in it all.
//Here’s the thing: gifts don’t have to be void of meaning.
What if we chose to have an unCOMMON Christmas? A season of expectation for time well-spent, love shared, presence given? Gifts with impact.
- Gifts that give the season more meaning instead of stealing it.
- Gifts that inspire instead of let down.
- Presents that percolate questions instead of the insatiable desire for more.
- Thoughtfulness that takes us to the feet of Jesus instead of the throne of Wal-mart customer service lines.
- Things and experiences given and made with love that lay bare our need for a Savior-babe who is anything but common.//
Five Gifts Packed with Meaning
- Soap with a story. Preemptive Love Coalition, headed up by Jeremy Courtney, has saved Iraqi children’s hearts for years, and now empowers families displaced by and fighting ISIS with two profound weapons: love and soap. The soap comes in chamomile, olive oil, and charcoal and its made by Sisterhood Soap and Kinsman Soap. The gift catalog also has hand-painted candles, medical care, and chickens. Get a copy of the book for the world changer in your life. Order by Dec. 15 in time for Christmas.
- Global gorgeousness for good. Fair Trade Friday partners with artisan orgs all over the globe to empower women to overcome poverty, oppression, and trafficking. There are bracelet and necklace of the month clubs for women, gift boxes for men (hello, leather journals and coffee) and even gifts for the kids. Their work is gorgeous. I especially love the new silver Live Wrecked bracelet.
- A book to blow them away. This is one of my personal indulgences: hunting for the perfect book to spark a love affair with words in the lives of my loved ones. Here are a few of my favorites:
- For a woman: Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
- For a man: The Heroic Path: in Search of the Masculine Heart by John Sowers or The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindbergh
- For the teen or rebel: Do Hard Things by Alex Harris and Brett Harris
- For a girl: Gutsy Girls series by Amy L. Sullivan
- For a boy: The Cooper Kids by Frank Peretti
- A memory made could mean lives saved. The Advent Conspiracy advocates fighting consumerism with time spent together and memories made through experiences. Go sledding, make a fort, bake cookies, and use the money saved to give water through their amazing org.
- A found gift to tell them who they are. A found gift is a gift you find that reminds you of someone. You can’t spend money on it. And you have to tell the person why this gift reminds you of them. Some people read a letter aloud to go with it. My friend Diana once gave me a found gift: a dangly earring with no match. She told me it reminded her of my unique gifts given by God. She said there was no one else made exactly like me, and God would use my writing. Years later, her words still inspire me. I could do a whole series on this one.
No, I’m not going cold-turkey with the gifts this year. I really like giving them. Here’s why. A year ago we gave our Compassion daughter a bigger gift than normal for her birthday. We received a picture of her hugging the goat she bought with the money. That’s the only photograph we have of her smiling. I still find my kids staring at the photo on the fridge to this day. It’s a gift none of us will ever forget.
Do Christmas uncommonly. Give meaning. Tweet This
Come, Lord Jesus Book Club
If you want to experience even deeper meaning this Advent, consider joining us for an Advent book club. We’re reading Come, Lord Jesus: the Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy. More info here.
This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday one word writing challenge. (// indicates the start and stop of five minutes.) This week our word was COMMON.