I’ve surveyed my friends and they tell me that not everyone starts their Christmas shopping on the clearance rack the year prior. Who knew?! (You probably did…)
But seriously, I hear an awful lot of chatter in Christian circles about how Christmas has become too commercialized. Then these same people are turning around and spending gobs of money on things that are quickly forgotten, lost, broken, or un-used.
If you woke up today with holiday anxiety because you haven’t purchased a single Christmas present, let me be the first to say, “Good for you!” There’s still hope!
Many years ago I read a fantastic book by Mary Hunt called, Debt Proof Your Christmas. It changed the way I not only thought about my shopping but about how I thought about my giving. (See the link to Mary’s website listed below.)
Why was I so concerned with what someone would think of my gift? Was I buying things out of love or out of guilt? Did I have a budget and if so was I able to have the self-control to spend within my limits?
After you take a few minutes to personalize the questions above, I challenge you to rethink your holiday gift giving. If you feel a conviction that you need to make some changes, then let me encourage you with this simple checklist adapted from ideas gleaned from Mary Hunt’s book.
1. Decide how much you will spend on gifts. Get this money in cash and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Do not carry credit cards when you go shopping.
2. Decide who you will shop for and about how much you will spend on each person.
3. Consider homemade gifts or “coupons”. (Most of your friends and neighbors do not need more “stuff” but they might appreciate a soup mix or coupon for free babysitting or snow shoveling.)
4. Let your kids help! Is there anything grandparents like better than artwork made by tiny hands especially for them? Of course not. (And thanks to Pinterest, there is no lack of creative ideas.)
5. Check out your local second hand store for containers and adornments to make your packages look stunning for a fraction of the price.
6. Make sure your kids have realistic expectations. If they’ve been asking for something that you know you cannot afford, help them to start thinking of what they can give rather than what they want to get. With older kids talk openly about your Christmas budget.
Is Christ or consumerism at the heart of your Christmas?
Let’s ask God to help us remember and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord.
What ideas do you have regarding gift shopping and giving?
By Jenna Hallock
Wife to Mark, Mom of 2
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting team member, Family Time Training
1. I gleaned many of my points from Mary Hunt’s book. I highly recommend this helpful resource.
Mary Hunt, Mary Hunt’s Debt Proof Your Holidays (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998).
Click here to visit Mary’s website.