Sunday, November 30, 2008
The Christmas Spirit...
A friend recently posted this video on her Facebook page and it inspired me to try something different this year. I'm going to make most of my holiday gifts for friends and family, or I'm going to recycle things that I already have and would love to share with others around me. In addition, I'm going to match the money I spend on gifts, supplies for making gifts, wrapping, and shipping by donating to charities that make a difference in the world.
Of course, this adventure has required me to get started early, and here's what I've already noticed:
1. I love being artistic, but it's something I often fail to make time for in my day-to-day life. Making gifts for other people has given me an amazing reason to be artistic, rather than coming home and plopping down in front of a computer game or book. So it has been a real gift to myself, too.
2. Making a promise to match my holiday spending with charitable giving is forcing me to be creative and think about every dollar I spend. I'm doing things like making my wrapping paper out of materials I already have in order to save money. And that's a good thing... because rampant consumerism is definitely NOT a good thing. (If you're not sure why I say that, check out www.storyofstuff.org)
3. For the first time in years, holiday gifts mean something to me. You see, I've already logged hours of time making gifts, and I've spent each of those hours thinking about the people I love... reminiscing about our times together... trying to envision what they would enjoy the most. That's what Christmas is really about. It's a lot more work than clicking the "buy" button at some Internet shopping site, but it's been so worth it to me.
4. I haven't had to survive the obnoxious crowds, super-sappy holiday music, long lines, and "buy, buy, buy" messages that bombard people in malls and stores these days. Which means I get to decide what Christmas is about for me, rather than letting pop culture decide for me. And I've got more time for making those gifts... do you see the cycle?
5. I get to honor my friends and family AND make a difference in the world through charitable giving. That gives me warm fuzzy feelings inside.
So if you're reading this, here's my request: take a few minutes to watch the video and decide how YOU'RE going to make a difference this year. Maybe it will be something small... that's okay. It all starts with small acts of kindness.
And please know that you'll be getting something relatively small or hand-made from me... and that I don't expect anything expensive or extravagant from you, either. Your love and friendship is enough... everything else is just a bonus!