Monday, November 16, 2009

Steps to Resisting the Storm, Part 1

So how to we take active steps to resist the coming storm of Christmas commercialism? When I was at the CCDA Conference in Cincinnati, Jim Wallis of Sojourners said, “Budgets are moral documents. How we spend/allocate our money shows what we really value.” He was speaking in terms of government spending, but this is also true of our own budgets. Jesus said that where our treasure is, there will our heart be, and so how we allocate the money God gives us reflects our values.

The way that Diane and I set boundaries for how much to spend at Christmas is the same way that we set boundaries for what we spend every other month of the year - our budget. Month to month, we set aside what God has led us to give first, and then we figure out how to live off of the rest. For Christmas, we limit what we budget for gifts, and then we stick to what we have set aside. I recognize that many of you have budgets for Christmas, and the way that our budget helps us resist the storm is that we set aside/budget a small amount. In order not to get caught up in craziness, Diane and I limit what we have available to spend.

When I think about my parents, sisters, and my own family, there is nothing at all that we need. Of course I always have a wish list of things that I want, but when I think about what I need, there’s nothing. That helps me spend less. I also have to fight the notion that gifts have to be large/expensive/multiple in order to be loving. I love to receive gifts (it’s my love language), and I love to give them – I almost want to unwrap the gift for the people I am giving it to because I love to give presents. But giving simple, yet thoughtful gifts, can be just as exciting. It can be more challenging to buy gifts with less money because you have to make decisions on what is really important to those people, and you buy less things on impulse and instead buy them with care and forethought.


Christina said...

When there are expectations from extended family or even within my nuclear family - I have often restricted myself to giving to children and adults for Christmas and Birthdays in the form of books - Ed McKay's becomes very useful here...just my two cents. It doesn't always work - but can be a starting place when feeling overwhelmed by the mass consumerism.

Joylynn said...

The best thing I ever did that has removed the focus and stress of gifts in the Christmas season and has steered me more towards celebrating Jesus is when I stopped buying Christmas gifts and instead chose to buy animals through Heifer International and give them in honor of my family/friends. I think most of them understand and are appreciative because we all recognize (adults anyways) that none us need anything more than what we have. It hasn't necessarily influenced others to do the same in return for me and Thor, but I'm hoping it will. Thor and I do exchange gifts (from a set budget) with each other but apart from that, it's made my life much more simple.