I’ll be encouraging our church to think along the lines of Advent Conspiracy this year. This book, video and study by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, and Greg Holder really makes you take stock of how commercial Christmas has become, and how much more it could be if we worship fully, spend less, give more and love all instead.
To be fair, though, I don’t know that we chose to create a Christmas that was all about spending, debt, quantity, extravagance and gifts void of meaning. I was raised that way. For boomers like me, that’s what it was all about. My dad has slides (kind of like filmstrips that you can project instead of snapshots to pass around, for you who have no idea what slides are) of our Christmases that were consumption oriented. And we didn’t even have that much. But we had a lot. It was great. We loved it. We had a great time. Our stockings contained an orange and a penny, from a past generation for whom fruit and pennies were valuable commodities.
But in the last decade or so, I ran up against a wall when it came to Christmas. Having lost touch with the lifestyles of my family and in-laws, we had no idea what to get them for Christmas. They had no idea what our lives were like, either. So we began exchanging worthless gifts. We’d send each other a $25 gift card. We broke even. One year we got a gift card we couldn’t even use because that franchise wasn’t in our area. Money flushed down the Christmas toilet.
We even had a hard time coming up with gifts for our kids. There wasn’t that much anyone wanted. Christmas became really frustrating.
I, for one, am glad that we are making gifts for each other, giving money to some worthy causes, and scaling back our Christmas. Even before I’ve really done much, it feels better already.