Wednesday, November 24, 2010

black friday re-think

many moons ago, my mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, and i started a tradition of waking up at dark:thirty in atlanta on black friday and hitting the area malls (plural) to knock out all the shopping for our christmas lists.  we got amazing deals, we found gifts that everybody would like, and we had more fun than any women should at 4 in the morning.

but things are a little different this year.

yes, our whole country is in an unrivaled economic state (at least in my lifetime), but for us, it's even more personal than that.  through judah's death, all of our families' eyes have been opened to a world that's vastly different than ours here in the united states.  a world where dirty water and substandard medical care lead down a path of destruction.  a world where common childhood illnesses literally end children's lives.

so what do you and i do with that?

what i'm NOT suggesting is that we all boycott christmas gifts this year (not that that's a bad thing, though).  :-)  as a matter of fact, the other crazy ladies and i will be visiting kohl's bright and early on black friday again this year.  but...our families have all pitched in on a few ideas of how to spend our money more wisely, and in many cases, for the great good of others.  i'd love to share...

  • think about drawing names rather than buying for every single member of your family.  this is taking shape in a couple of different ways across our extended families, but it's a great way for each person to have something to open without the unnecessary "pile 'o gifts" that often appears this time of year.  plus, the leftover money can be donated to your favorite charity in your family's name!!
  • skip the mass merchandisers and buy from shops or individuals who are selling for a cause.  a portion of the sales from allison lewis photography go to support the child survival program that compassion international helped us set up in memory of baby judah, and i've been selling christmas cards to help raise money to bring micah home.  but if you're not in the market for swanky christmas cards or photos, my friend, lora, has put together a killer list of everything from jewelry to artwork to coffee cuffs.  and the best part is that every item on the list is being sold to help bring a little one home to his or her forever family (including lora's own hopesuds all-natural laundry detergent).  click HERE to peruse and shop from her master won't be disappointed!
  • mine and josh's hearts have been really heavy for the stuff-itis that permeates our culture, and we've made a lot of decisions to try to guide our children's hearts to things that are not of this world.  one of the ways that we've done that is by keeping christmas very "small" (read: a couple of inexpensive gifts per child) with their third gift being the picture of the new child we were sponsoring through compassion international that year.  the rest of the year (and beyond) is then spent exchanging letters, pictures, handmade cards, stickers, and questions about each other's lives a continent away.  what a precious opportunity to teach children here about the lives of children there.  it's fun, it's eye-opening, and it's educational.  but most importantly, it helps turn our children's hearts away from themselves and toward the needs of others.  
  • we're detouring from that path a little this year, and i'm uber-pumped about our kids' last gift this christmas.  compassion has launched a new "gifts of compassion catalog" in which they list gifts ranging from a $10 mosquito net to a $5,000 major surgery.  we're wrapping up the catalog and then letting our kids each choose one gift (from the front half of the catalog!) to give to a child in need.  we've got bets on what we think they'll each choose: we're guessing jack will pick a soccer ball, abby will choose a new mom health kit, and izzy will go for a chicken.  :-)  i'll be sure to post the results after christmas day.
i pray that you have a wonderful and blessed thanksgiving.  and as you're shopping on black friday, just remember that instead of that "lovely" christmas reindeer sweater, you could be buying someone a goat instead!

"do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  for where your treasure is, 
there your heart will be also."
matthew 6:19-20


Meredith said...

great ideas Allison. Our family wages war on materialism every Christmas and really tries to focus on Christ. We don't even talk about presents much. Most of the talk is when JM tells those who cross our path that continually ask him what he "wants for Christmas" that Christmas isn't about presents, it's about Jesus. I always make Christmas ornaments with their picture and I always find something yummy to bake that will please everyone on our list. Last year it was homemade caramel corn and it was a big hit! We even had fun making our own wrapping paper.
Again, thanks for the ideas! You rock! (is it still cool to say that?)

Dawn Kirkland said...

While I can't count myself among those of you who have successfully given up the material for the spiritual, I can say that in our family we are opting out of the idea that "more is better" and Billy and I agree that one of our "gifts" to our children and grandchildren is the idea that less is more, that we all have more than we need and that it is time to re-examine our actions and make sure they line up with our values. Who are we? What do we believe? What do we value? Let's authentically live into the answers to those questions. As always, thank you Allison and Josh for calling me to my best self. You inspire me. Amen

The Taylors said...

Can't wait to see what the kiddos pick. The boys chose to stock a fish pond last year, that's the good news. The bad news...they could not understand why the fish pond was not delivered via the UPS man. They thought since we ordered it out of a catalog, it should arrive on our front steps. =o) Great memories and wonderful life lessons.

Libby said...

Hey Al,
Just wanted to let you and Josh know we donated a cow and a GOAT to Compassion, love this instead of spending more $$ on gifts people don't need or want (some that is!). Made me feel good all over..missle rapper too! Thank you for this wonderful gift idea. Love you!