Last week a news broadcaster said the average Canadian spends about $860 on Christmas gifts. Don’t you think it would be interesting to know what that money buys? No doubt some purchases are needed items. Some are simply nice to have. But others? Consider the contents of a 63-page catalogue that arrived in my mailbox last week:
- resin mounted squirrel heads
- scarves made to resemble bacon strips
- string lights shaped like dill pickles
- pillows that look like pizza
- CDs guaranteed to teach me how to speak with foreign accents
Imagine having to fake delight at unwrapping a gift and discovering one of the above! “Wow—a plastic squirrel head! Perfect for my garage wall. You shouldn’t have. I mean it—you shouldn’t have!”
If the thought of Christmas shopping leaves you stressed because of money issues, consider offering a coupon instead:
- For an evening of free babysitting.
- For a Saturday morning brunch at your place (scrambled eggs, cinnamon buns, fruit platter).
- For an afternoon of yard work (mow lawns, rake leaves, plant flowers).
- For a walk around a park followed by a cup of cocoa.
- For a batch of freshly baked muffins of their choice.
Remember, Christmas gift-giving isn’t about dollar amounts. It’s about expressing appreciation and love for others, and that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.
Regardless of your budget as you plan your shopping list, remember the words found in 1 John 3:17 – “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” Let’s keep the spirit of Christmas by remembering those individuals or families in financial need this year. Perhaps you know someone personally in that category. If not, donate to a reputable charity that provides gifts for the disenfranchised. The Salvation Army, food banks, rescue missions, and women’s shelters are all good places to start.
This year, one of the things my husband and I will do is donate money to buy a Christmas dinner for a family that wouldn’t otherwise enjoy this meal. We’ll also buy a gift for a teenage girl living in a women’s shelter with her mom. In years past, we’ve purchased backpacks and filled them with toiletries, bus passes, mitts, etc and given them to a local organization that helps teenagers who have left home for one reason or other. We’ve also purchased gifts for kids overseas through World Vision.
Opportunities to show compassion are endless. What will you do to show God’s love in a tangible way to someone this Christmas? Share your ideas, okay? We can spur each other on.
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