Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Giving: W.R.I.N.G.

I don't know how most of you feel about gift giving at Christmas time and I am not against giving gifts but there are times where the materialism that surrounds Christmas just overwhelms me. Christmas is a historically a Christian holiday. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, God's gift to the world. A gift that no one can surpass. Then there is the ultimate gift of Jesus giving his life for us and the wise men who traveled long and far to give expensive gifts to Jesus, the Son of God. Clearly gifts aren't a bad thing. Now whether you celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday or a secular one you may still wish to impart more meaning to your gifts than just buying the biggest big screen TV you can or can't afford.

I have long ago, prior to the current "recession", decided to living a life more intentionally. But living intentionally can be easier said than done especially if you share your finances with other people. Growing up I distinctly remember the J.C. Penny's Wish Book arriving and fighting with my brother to look at it. I would earmark the pages with presents I was dying to receive and feeling fully justified in wanting. Most of those presents involved expensive horse related toys because everything to do with horses is expensive, toys or not, and I was horse CRAZY. I don't really recall getting many of the toys I so eagerly earmarked but I never had a terrible Christmas. My mother and father worked hard to instill the "real" reason for Christmas into my greedy little heart.

My 91 year old Grandmother tells a story of how during the Great Depression an orange was the Christmas gift that she received. An ORANGE. The fruit many of you have in your refrigerator right now. Now I don't know about you, but I can give my son more than an orange, even if it meant pulling out the credit card, right? But is that the lesson I want my son to learn? Is that the tradition I want him to have growing up? It certainly doesn't apply to living intentionally.

OK. So I made up the acronym WRING. Wear, Read, Indulgence, Need, Give. After a session of my family sitting down at the kitchen table to go through the Sunday paper ads and "circling" what they want and my step son mentioning how he would like a drum set, "even though they usually go used for like $600." I decided it was necessary to put some guidelines on gift giving. So we will be keeping our categories down to four types of gifts to receive.

Something to wear, practical or trendy. Something to read, a book or magazine subscription. Something to indulge ourselves (something we want), fill in the blank (within reason). And something we need, this should be something we would die without to actually fill a "need" but lets just say it will be something to make our lives better. Then there is another element. Besides giving gifts, many of which we are making, we are giving money to a charity or cause we believe in. I would love for this idea of giving of time and money to grow and the idea of needing to receive to grow smaller. Let's face it. We aren't rich but we have soooo much!!!

Now my family can stop madly "circling" the ads and get on with the meaning of Christmas. I look forward to developing other meaningful Christmas traditions as our family grows and I will keep you posted on our success along with some of the wonderful gifts that have been made.

What do you do to live intentionally during the Christmas Season? How do you keep your gift giving and gift wishing under control?

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