Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thinking About Christmas

It is already October 9th and truly before we know it, the Christmas season will be upon us.

With our economy today, this can be a very stressful time for all of us. In our society, we've been programmed to want more, "need" more, bigger, better...I am as guilty of that as anyone.

I must also add though, the more I try to live a more simple, frugal life, I have observed how materialistic we have become. It seems to me as if magazine advertisements and tv commercials have come to life in bigger and bolder ways to get our attention. It seems as if displays in the stores are everywhere promoting the newest this or the improved that.

I've found myself looking at these ads and displays and asking myself, "What's wrong with the one I have?" Now let me tell you, that is music to my husband's ears. He is definitely the saver in our family. Simple, frugal living is something I've had to go back to. My growing up years were mostly lean. Mom and Dad didn't have a lot of money and we raised most of what we ate.The early years of my marriage were also lean, buying only what was necessary. As time has marched on though, and my husband's income increased, I found myself falling victim to the "bigger, better" mentality. Thankfully though, God took the scales from my eyes and showed me how materialistic and worldly I had become.

As a Christian, I also find myself walking around in disbelief at how little Christ actually has to do with Christmas in our world. We spend so much time shopping for people and trying to find that perfect gift. We spend so much time planning Christmas parties and Christmas dinner. We spend so much time running out and buying those last minute gifts because so-and-so bought me something. We, too, as Christians, have fallen victim to pushing Christ to the side. I include myself in that.

So, as the middle of October approaches, if you find the stress levels starting to build, take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, sit down with a pencil and paper and begin a list.

In our family we, of course, get gifts for each other and our teens. But this is how it goes in our extended family:
2 Grandmas
2 Grandpas
2 Married Aunts and Uncles
3 Single Aunts and Uncles
7 Nieces and Nephews

We then have Sunday School teachers, the mail carrier, the paper delievery, our garbage men..and like everyone else, those that pop up last minute.

Over the next few days, I'm going to address each group and share how we have chosen to gift these people. I am going to share things we have done in the past that will hopefully help you now and also how to plan in the future to help you next year.

How about leaving me a comment on what your family does. I'd love to hear how your family handles gift giving!

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