What Will Christmas Be This Year?

We all know the pressure is on to make people happy at Christmas.  And I always wanted to be a good gift-giver.  I would pay attention all through the year and surprise loved ones with that one thing they’d really wanted.  I loved the adventure of finding the gifts…but felt guilty about the priority I was putting on this process of gift-giving.

Two years ago, I felt God challenge me about the way I was spending this money.  The number of zeroes was growing each year.  Generosity has always come easy to me, but I knew I needed to redirect who was benefitting from these gifts.  Seriously…do we need one more Wii cartridge or giftcard??

Once I made the decision (and prepared my many family members for the change), it became such a fun experience.  We’ve given cows and pigs, we’ve adopted children in Kenya and India and we’ve helped fund water programs in Uganda.  There are so many programs that make the process easy, and have built a legacy on creating change where needed.  There was some learning along the way–especially in prepping family for this change.  Some people loved the idea and were excited about knowing their gift was going to help someone else.  Others were not so crazy about it at first, and I had to respect their desire to get an actual gift (though I didn’t give in and change what I was doing, but did respect their feelings in the process).  And, in addition to not giving any gifts, I asked that I not be given any either, so that the money they would’ve spent on me was used to help others, too.  All that to say, communication is needed when you decide to do this, but it’s well worth the discussion so people know ahead of time.

If you want to know you’re really impacting a life with a gift this year, try this: you’ll never regret it, and won’t have to wonder if  your present is just collecting dust in someones’ closet.

4 thoughts on “What Will Christmas Be This Year?

  1. Jennifer,

    Thank you for writing this post. This has been a thought for many years in our family, and we’ve pared down to giving only meaningful things: photo books, fun videos, and cards. Now that we live so very far away from our families, those same photos are possible but also more meaningful. And living where we do now, we are acutely aware of gigantic needs in other parts of the world. I think this may be a great year to adapt what you’ve done … Thanks for the inspiration. Enjoy the season!

    Jennifer K.

  2. Okay, I’m challenged. I love to give gifts too. When I was in the corp world, we spent a lot. It’s different living the artist life (snort) but I still want to give gifts.

    I know different gifts mean different things to different people. I love your ideas Jen.

    I think for me, I’m challenged to find meaningful gifts for those I’m giving to. Some would love the money given to the needy, others would prefer something on their own list.

    One year I got a gift for my SIL and she never gets gifts from her kids, and she and my bro choose not to buy for each other. It blew her away. She loved the gift and was so touched and surprised.

    To me, that was worth what I spent. It opened a door for us to talk later.

    What I see you saying Jen and am expressly challenged by is to go to God and ask what we can and should be giving!


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