At the risk of sounding like a Scrooge or being misunderstood, I must admit:
This whole gift giving thing is so overrated! I hate this pressure of having to buy gifts just because it is Christmas. I’m all for giving, but the attitude that one should make a list of wants just does not set well with me. Why do we want to encourage our kids to ask for gifts? It sets a bad pattern at a very early age that they are to expect something just because it is Christmas.
Now please do not confuse this with the activity of giving. Giving because you want to, giving because there is a need, giving for no special reason is not about making a wish list.
How many of us have been disappointed because a husband or other family member did not get us what we wanted? How many times growing up did you go to school to see and hear of the grand gifts that others received and you did not? That is because the emphasis is on receiving, not giving! We are taught to expect something special at Christmas.
I’m sitting here listening to the local news and the plea from organizations to give gifts to the children. They have a warehouse full of gifts for local children, the lady is saying, “Please, please the children NEED these gifts for Christmas.” Do they? Do they really? What the children NEED is time and love! How about volunteering as a tutor, or some other way to REALLY give of yourself? Find a way to come along side of these foster families and develop relationships with children. THAT is what they need! Do they really NEED that $20 gift? No, they NEED love. Teach them about love, not a momentary high of a gift.
I am all for giving, finding needs and meeting them. I am all for giving special gifts to my family and friends all year long, not just because it is “the season to give”.
If you are in a place where you cannot give of your time right now there are ways to give and meet needs without receiving a big pat on the back:
~We have a neighbor that saves all of their change in a jar and after Thanksgiving they leave it on the doorstep of someone who is struggling in the community.
~ (I say this not to brag, but to give an example about being alert of ways to give.) Recently we had a cashier that was let’s say, grumpy and down cast. She planned on spending Thanksgiving with her 13 year old at a restaurant. When we left, Emma took some money and a note saying, “Enjoy a peaceful and joyful meal with your son. God is good” back into the store and told the service desk to give it to the cashier on register 14, so that she would not know it came from us.
Buy a gift card ahead of time for a grocery store. Spend a little time in the store looking for someone who may look needy. Work it so that you are in line in front of them. Quietly tell the cashier you would like to pay for their groceries, and ask her to keep quiet about who is giving it and leave quickly.
If you are out eating, pay for someone’s meal, what a blessing to pay for a meal for a family with several children, an elderly couple or a military family! Not only will you bless the family, but the waitress will be a witness of a giving heart.
I’d love to hear of any other ways to give.