How Will You “Spend” This Christmas?

With the holidays fast approaching and school winding down, the time has come when many of us are preparing to buy gifts for our friends and family. Taking the time to choose that right gift can cause a lot of unnessary stress. And, if you’re anything like me, you really haven’t even started thinking about it yet so whatever you do buy will be done on Dec. 24th and with little thought even put into it. As this time of year approaches I can’t help but think how much we’ve missed the point.

Christmas is many things to many different people. For many of us it’s a gift of time with our loved ones. For others it has become the gift of a much needed break in the middle of a busy time of year. And for those of us who remember, Christmas represents the gift of God’s love and forgiveness to the world.

Gift giving is wrapped up with Christmas. You can’t seperate them. Somehow though, gift giving became a stressfull, thoughtless, expensive, and corporate tradition. We’ve turned to Walmart, Best Buy, and other big businesses to buy gifts lacking love. It’s no surprise that the meaning of Christmas has been lost on the world, but in our context even the selfless act of gift giving has gone to the wayside.

So this is my challenge to you; make your gift giving count. In the wake of the economic crisis we’re facing, big businesses are just competing for your money. So they’ll knock prices down to force you to buy from them. Here’s five suggestions from a trusted economic guru, Seth Godin.

1. Buy handmade items from people you like.
2. Don’t buy gift cards. It’s lazy and sort of dumb.
3. Don’t buy from big brands or big stores that don’t care about you, or that act in ways you don’t applaud. There are very smart alternatives in almost every category.
4. When in doubt, buy digital items. Even better, give a donation and make many people happy.
5. Realize that when you’re going to buy from Amazon, buying from a lens with a red ribbon on top will earn significant money for charity with no effort on your part.

There are so many great local places for you to buy meaningful, well made gift worthy items. The people who made them care about the work they do and actually need your business. And if you want to take it to the next level and have a deeper impact on more people, why not buy gifts that in some way contribute to a charity. Whether a percentage of the proceeds go to a worthy cause or buying a cow for someone in Africa through Christian Blind Mission, these gifts represent the selfless love that giving should be about.

As we find time to stop and reflect about what Christmas really is, let’s also find ways to let our actions speak with our words.

*For more information on supporting local businesses or finding charities to get on board with, feel free to email me.

~Ben

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