Amazing how quickly it always comes that the topic of Christmas (and for most, the buying that goes with it) is already being discussed. The good thing is that the context in which I read about it (“Buy Nothing Christmas” by Growing Up in Church) is about NOT BUYING. This Buy Nothing Christmas thing is “a movement dedicated to reviving the original meaning of Christmas giving.”
Now when I told this to my wife, she thought it meant not giving anything but that isn’t the idea. Instead it is giving gifts but not just because everyone is giving (you know what I mean, you feel obliged to get every single person in your huge family a gift NO MATTER WHAT). Several years ago, we made mixes (like caramel corn) and bought trays to put them in and distributed those to friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We have also some year ago made cookies and mailed them in tins to family. Usually what we’ve done obviously involved making and giving food. We really like that idea.
My family has never really been that big into doing huge piles of gifts – but when I was a kid, we did get the usual gifts and from the cousins’ families (only 2 sets of aunts+uncles+cousins) we usually received one thing like a movie. My grandparents give their daughters necessities every year. In a small group a few years ago, we did a gift exchange (usually what your family didn’t want anymore but someone else might but sometimes it was silly stuff). We’ve had the children make hand-painted and decorated frames with a picture of themselves, and make other things (maybe we did ornaments one year) to give.
But this Buy Nothing Christmas movement has a list of alternative ideas that we’ve never thought of but like:
- recycled glass coffee containers, painted and filled with goodies for kids
- calendar for the family with everyone’s photos and birthdays (I really like this idea – might do this!)
- alternative to department stores is Ten Thousand Villages which provides vital, fair income to Third World artisans (I came across this recently from somewhere else online too)
- Look through your (and your kids’) old clothes, cut out squares of fabrics they will remember, and make a little wall hanging or pillow or stuffed toy or whatever.
Either which way, we have a lot of planning going on before we can think about all of this – we have Thanksgiving! And before that, I had mentioned previously about serving with some organization with the homeless – well we have decided to connect with the Freedom House‘s Respite Program 10 days from now and serve dinner…. I can’t wait!
12/4/2007 UPDATE: I really enjoyed this post on this topic…