December 10, 2008

Non Traditional Gift Giving


We have made a decision to give differently this year. We were inspired by my mother, who asked us to give less this year and was even more inspired by our church, who has been leading us in the Advent Conspiracy. As I have said to many over the past few months, I never really listened to a Sermon till I started going to SPCC, but now I take them in fully!

So over the past month there has been discussion about Spending LESS to get MORE out of Christmas ~ this is something that Troy and I have both been thinking about since September. We need to cut back this year and now we have been given such great tools to do it!

Our biggest obstacle is the boys with their wide child eyes, that those in the advertising industry are trying to attract from September to December 24th. Yes their eyes and ears are open to every NEW, Amazing, Cool, brightly colored toy, DVD, book, game and what ever else they absorb through TV Ads and circulars. But we are trying our best to explain that it is not about the STUFF, but it is about giving of your self to others.

Our almost 7 year old is getting some of it, but at the same time is worried about HOW much he will GET! This week was a challenge, we did ask him to give 1/2 of his allowance to his class, because they are raising funds to purchase an item from Heifer International http://www.heifer.org/ . He did give in this week and we will ask him to do the same again next week, then after the holidays we will ask him to continue this so we as a family can pick a charity to save and give to.

The little guy still does not understand, so this year is simple for him. To him it is all about just opening the gifts and seeing Santa. But I have been working with him on making gifts for his grandparents, friends and for all of us in the family. Over time I am sure they will both grow to understand that it is about others and NOT all about them.

So back to my own giving....I have decided to give in new ways. From homemade Christmas ornaments, framed photographs of the children to my newest idea that was inspired by this weekends sermon. I am planning on giving to charities in Honor of each Family, I will choose charities that are close to the hearts of each family.

For my mother I will give to a charity that focuses on Breast Cancer Research, In Honor of my Father I will give to a charity that focuses on Lung Diseases. For my in-laws we will most likely pick a local charity that they support. And in honor of each of my children I will give to children in other countries through one of the many organizations that I have listed below.

http://www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com/pages.php?pageid=4

http://www.unicefusa.org/about/

http://www.worldvision.org/home.nsf/index.htm?Open&lid=wv_logo&lpos=topnav

But beyond all that, I will have the boys donate a few toys after the holidays, continue to donate can goods at church, tell them what the Local MOMS Club is doing to help a local family and how our community is in need. With my sons cub scout den I have also asked the boys to create Christmas cards for the Military troops who are over seas and away from their families this holiday season, they move over 50 cards and an additional 14 from another Den in our pack. Then I asked the boys to create a photo frame, take a photo and then learn to wrap the gift, then they had to choose a person who was not a family member and give it to them for Christmas.

I would also like to extend this thought process long after the holidays and maybe in the spring have our oldest put together some sort of service project through the cub scouts, church or his school.

My long term goal is to allow my children to grow as better Christians, better men and all around better members of their world. I know they are loving caring children, and I know that they are children of a commercially based world, but if we can make small changes over time, I know they will become better Christian men as they grow.

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