As we move relentlessly towards Christmas the buying frenzy is gathering pace. Even I am beginning to struggle to work out what to give those close to me. One thing I read recently put it like this: “Am I going to max out my credit card to buy things that are not needed, which I can’t afford, to impress people I don’t even like?” Obviously not everyone is in that category, there are special people that I want to find an appropriate gift for… but what?
The answer is not to opt out and develop ‘Scrooge’ tendencies but to take a closer look outside the box! I don’t have to wait till Christmas Eve desperation overtakes me I can start working on giving these things today! Try these for size:
- Send an overdue love letter to your partner
- Make contact with a forgotten friend or family member you have been avoiding
- Forgive an enemy and send them a symbol to show it
- Laugh and give a smile to somebody who needs one
- Give a gift of time – agree to be a slave for a day
- Make something special for the special people in your life – sometimes it is the simple things that are the most precious
- Give a word of encouragement to your boss
- Organise an inexpensive family outing
- Begin working on your family history to give to your children
- Find new ways to say “I love you” to the significant people in your life.
But, no matter how progressive your gift list is you will still need to purchase some ‘things’! Resist the temptation to put on credit what you can’t afford. Think ahead, maybe this expenditure could be better covered another way, such as a lay-by or a low interest loan.
But Christmas is much more than presents – it is about presence! If it has lost its lustre, maybe the problem is inside not outside. Putting up a bigger tree will not address the real issue – maybe you need to be open to a spiritual awakening and find where Christ fits in your celebrations.
Chaplain Ian S Whitley