Tuesday, November 18, 2008

37 Shopping Days Left to Christmas

by Deanna Matzen

I can't believe it. We're only a little over a month away from Christmas. I don't know about you, but no matter how early I try to start thinking about buying or making gifts for Christmas, the time always flies too fast. All of a sudden we're just a week before Thanksgiving and it feels like crunch-time.

For years, my husband and I have tried to reframe Christmas and move away from spending a lot of money, with some success. This year, however, with the economic troubles our nation finds itself in, we are more determined than ever to refocus our Christmas mindset. Christmas is not supposed to be about spending tons of money, though Wall Street would like the economic boost. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. While I understand that giving gifts at Christmas is a visceral reminder of the greatest and most lavish gift we ever received - Jesus - we should also balance gift giving with honoring the other gifts God has given us - creation, time, talents, creativity, etc. So for today's blog, I'd like to pass on some resources and new ideas for holiday gift giving.

Inexpensive, Creative and Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas from the New American Dream.

Waste Free Holidays: Give Experiences instead of Stuff - while this site is specific to the Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia area of Washington State, anyone can give gift certificates for experiences instead of stuff.

Buy Nothing Christmas - gift ideas that require little or no purchase.

Hundred Dollar Holiday is Bill McKibben's aria to the end of stuff (based on his book).

And if you still need an idea or two, how about giving a gift membership to an organization that reflects that person's value, like Earth Ministry! Or give the gift of knowledge...a book, whether new or used, would make a great gift. Money & Faith: The Search for Enough is a new addition to the Earth Ministry collection and a very timely one at that. Or how about a regifting Christmas or a thrift store Christmas or a Craigslist Christmas. Who said that gifts have to be brand-spanken new and fresh out of the wrapper to be meaningful?

And finally, I'd like to encourage you to participate in Buy Nothing Day on November 28th. It's a simple stand you can take against consumerism. Afterall, you won't need to buy anything on the day of post-turkey mega-sales because you're simplifying Christmas this year!

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