Monday, November 22, 2010

Do December Different

It’s starting to look and feel like Christmas.  We got a light, fluffy, sparkly snow today.  I am seeing trees up in windows and hearing people talk about baking.  So ready or not, here it comes.

I have talked to so many people that despise December.  They hate shopping and fighting the crowds.  They spend too much money.  They charge up their credit cards. They are obligated to spend $25 on Aunt Betsy because that’s what she spent on them.  They feel depressed or lonely.  It ruins the holidays for them.  Sometimes we run around buying plastic toys and things no one needs all under the banner that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”.  For real.  If He is, I’m not sure He’d be too excited with our focus.

Well, guess what.  We’re not doing it.  Not this year.  Every year my husband has lovingly tried to convince me that we need to change the way we do Christmas.  After years of trying so hard to make Christmas amazing by driving all over creation trying to make everyone happy, spending money on things for people that  have everything and stressing so much that I end up hating Christmas; I agree with him.  I am ready to do December different. 

So before the Black Friday ads come out and entice me or the desire to make my kids happy or greed takes over I’m putting some thought into this.  I may be called a scrooge, cheapskate, or zealot but I don’t care.  We are going to spend less and give more.  We are going to spend less (or no) time at the mall and more time helping others. 

We’re going to try to give every day in December.  It could be visiting a lonely senior or providing date night babysitting for another couple.  It might include baking or playing secret elf. 

Some of it will be material and monetary.  I have no problem with that and I love giving gifts.  But it’s only thoughtful and special to me when it’s done from the heart, out of joy and love. 

We talked about it with our kids at lunch yesterday.  They are super excited and have lots of ideas of their own.  What a better way to do December than to spend our time, energy and resources thinking of what we can give and do for others because of Jesus and what He has done for us. 

As we take the focus off shopping and gifts, it might mean we will have less under our tree.  It might mean we won’t even have time to think about what we want.  I hope and pray it does.  I mean, really, what do we need?  We’ve got food, a warm house, a job, two vehicles and insurance.  I think we’re in pretty good shape.

Maybe you dread December.  Or want to stop spending the month complaining about how much shopping you have to do and wondering how you are going to pay for it.  You can Do December Different too.    Maybe it’s just one little thing you want to change.  Or maybe you are ready to do a total 180. 

I am going to share our ideas and maybe you have some too.  We’d love to hear them. 

1 comment:

Wayne Pederson said...

I hear you. I too have been frustrated with the materialism and hassle in the way our world (and our church) celebrates Jesus birthday. I prefer a meditative, quiet, relational approach without the stress, shopping, spending. We still want to be generous with our family and show our love in a material way, probably with a cash gift that will allow them something they need or want. And for sure, we place on high priority on just being together with our beloved families. Dad