As a part of our pursuit to “take back the story of Christmas”, our hope is that we can encourage one another by providing practical ideas that accompany the heart of the simple and humble biblical story of Christmas. Most the people I know are frustrated with the patterns they’ve established with their Christmas spending. While the credit keeps piling up as well as the anxiety that goes along with it, often times the very joy we’re chasing is lost in the shuffle. And most certainly the story as well.
Here are a few alternative ideas to make a difference this Christmas. Feel free to add any that you might have:
- Simplify: If you’ve got kids, instead of buying a ton of things that probably won’t be remembered six months from now, narrow it down to four key things: (1) Something you want, (2) something you need, (3) something to wear, (4) something to read.
- Match It: Make a commitment to give away as much as you keep. For every dollar spent, donate a dollar to a favorite charity or non-profit organization. To see more about Austin New Church’s non-profit partners click HERE.
- Give Presence: Do something designed to spend time with your family or friends this Christmas. Take a trip instead of spending money on presents. A cheaper alternative is to do the same thing locally. Maybe a family game day or a day spent around town doing other things together.
- Volunteer Together: One of my favorite organizations and partners of ANC is Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Early Christmas morning they invite families to join them (before they open their own presents) and do truck runs to feed the homeless, give warm clothing, and more than anything, let them know they’re not forgotten on one of the hardest days of the year to be alone.
- Forego Your Gifts: Ask friends, family, co-workers to donate to the non-profit of your choice instead of them buying YOU a present. Maybe that’s a $20 donation to “Charity: Water” or a $50 micro-loan to KIVA. Either way, that’s a great way for YOU to be the one making the sacrifice, while increasing awareness in others.
- ReThink Christmas: Check out the website “Rethinking Christmas” to see what other “Advent Conspiracy” Churches are doing. There are some great ideas found on their website.
There are many, many, many more things we can do. Bottom line, it just takes some thought and maybe a little creativity. The reward and impact goes far beyond a single morning in December. Maybe you’ll even find a new family tradition that will pass down to your children and their children.