Archives: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? #1
Guidelines for Alternative Giving
Guidelines for Alternative Giving
Giving is at the heart of Christmas! We remember God's great gift by giving to others. Given human nature and the commercialization of Christmas, "getting" sometimes seems more prominent than giving," and giving to "our own" sometimes has more importance than giving to the one whose birthday we celebrate. It doesn't have to be that way. We can give in a way that honors the birth of Christ, expresses our love to our family and friends, and our concern for the earth.
These Guidelines are designed to assist individuals, families or groups who want to be more intentional in their giving. The Guidelines are intended to be suggestive, not inclusive. In the end, it is you who must set the guidelines for your giving.
When we celebrate a birthday we give gifts to the person whose birthday it is. Moreover, we are careful to choose what that person expressly wants and needs.
Is there any doubt as to what Jesus wants us to give him? He pointedly insists that in order to give to him, we must find him in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned.
Gifts of our time, skills and money to support ministries to "the least of these" are the beginning points-not afterthoughts-of gift giving at Christmas. Will you consider covenanting with the members of your household to spend in time, skills and money an amount equal to 25% of what you spent on last year's Christmas celebration?
WARNING: You probably do not have the time or money to do everything you have done before and add this. The Christmas birthday gifts must replace some of the time and money invested before.
Consider the person, your own time, skills and money and PLAN your gift. Suggestions:
- Don't look at catalogues or go to the malls to "get ideas" of what to give. That allows someone else do your thinking for you.
- Make a Christmas budget before the season arrives, and stick to it.
- Don't wait until the last minute when the commercial pressures are the greatest.
The GIVING of gifts is essential for human relations. The traditional PURCHASE of gifts is essential only to our convenience and profits for business. The highest form of giving is the giving of one's self:
- Time: Giving an uninterrupted period of time to a child, an older parent or another loved one may be the greatest gift you can give.
- Skill: Using a skill you have, give yourself in what you create in the workshop, at the desk or in the kitchen.
Consider these questions:
- Does this gift reflect the values I want to share?
- Does this gift encourage conservation rather than consumption?
- Does the material from which the gift is made reflect abuse of the environment?
- Does this gift encourage activity rather than passivity; self-reliance rather than dependence?
- Does this gift stimulate spiritual, mental or physical growth?
- Who profits from the purchase of this gift? (The purchase of hand-made gifts from self-help craft groups supports the preservation of traditional crafts and skills as well as the efforts of low-income people to become self-reliant.)
Page updated 22 October 2012
Simple Living Works! * SimpleLivingWorks@Yahoo.com
BLOG: SimpleLivingWorks.WordPress.com | Blog INDEX
PODCAST | Podcast INDEX
MISSION: Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly // An all volunteer educational organization.