Last week I shared some ideas for how both sides of our family have celebrated Christmas in the past. I wanted to give a fuller picture of what those celebrations looked like and some suggestions for a more meaningful and less “stuff-centric” Christmas. Let’s focus on the joy of giving rather than getting.
Sharing Your Gifts
I wrote about how one year my husband’s side of the family did a “share your gifts/talents” idea. It was something new and I know we were all delighted by all the things that people brought to the evening. My mother in law directed many of the cousins in a play that they performed for us that evening. One of my sister-in-laws who is whiz in the kitchen made consumable treats for each family. One of my brother-in-laws who is a geologist gave the gift of his knowledge and shared a presentation on the geological events that happened in 2014. My husband, who is an artist and a musician, sang a song that he had made up based on a children’s graphic novel series, Zita the Spacegirl, *(affiliate link, please see below) that all my sons love.
My gift that I wanted to share that year was the gift of reflecting and writing. I had people write a letter to themselves that they sealed and addressed to themselves. I kept the letters and mailed them the following Christmas to them. I hope it was an encouragement to them to see where they had been a year ago and where they were in the present. I know every time I do that exercise, I’m always surprised at how many things can change in a year, or stay the same, but our hearts are in a different place.Have you thought about sharing the gift of your talent this Holiday? Talking about the joy of giving Click To Tweet
Gifts that are Life Changing
I’m sure many of you are aware of the organization World Vision. We sponsor a child in Ghana. Every Christmas time there is a catalog that is sent to us with some suggestions of gifts that an individual or group can purchase for a family. There is a broad range of gifts that can be purchased.
One Christmas I went through the catalog with my sons so that they could each pick out one gift to give to a family in another country. It was a great way for us to discuss how these gifts would make a difference, to get a glimpse into life in developing countries, and a chance for them to be outward focused. This is something we would like to make an annual tradition.
The Importance of Family
A daily habit I am trying to instill is the practice of gratitude. I am trying to write down 3 things I am thankful for each night. One if not all three of the things I usually write down focuses on how grateful I am for specific and oftentimes small things about one of my family members. Family is so important.
This Christmas our family has joined The Hope Effect campaign to provide a home environment with two parents for orphans around the world. This 501c3 is being spearheaded by Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist.Looking to give this holiday? Consider @thehopeeffect. Only $10 a month to provide a family style home for an orphan. Click To Tweet
UNICEF estimates that over 26 million children worldwide live without parents . The vision of the Hope Effect is small home like settings for the majority of orphans who will not be adopted into loving families. They are starting with their first family style home on the campus of La Providencia in Siguatepeque, Honduras.
We’re joining their $10 team because we have a heart for adoption and feel inspired by this bold goal. I recently cancelled Hulu and didn’t renew Amazon Prime because I felt that we didn’t utilize them enough to justify the monthly/annual expense. This is a great place to redirect part of that money. If you and your friends or family are looking for a new organization to give to this Christmas, consider the Hope Effect.
Whether you give your gift of talents this holiday season, or your gift of money (or both!), let’s be intentional and generous this holiday season.
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How are you giving (your time, your resources, yourself) this holiday season?
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