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 list...you 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.
"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."