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>Do More, Spend Less

December 24, 2010


It’s all just so commercial – buy more, buy more! If it isn’t new, it isn’t in style (I quote thee, Macy’s. Shame on you!) Happiness in a bottle.

The slogans are appalling. The results are saddening.

The last two years our church has participated in the Advent Conspiracy – a simple concept really – it’s all about taking Christmas back. Worship fully. Spend less. Give more. Love all.

I’ve tried to look at what we give and how – do they really need it? Will they use it? What would be more meaningful?

Here are some of the ways we’ve tried to shift the needle back towards a season of giving instead of a season of getting:

Scrappy attends preschool. While he is in a class with two primary teachers, on any given day he is cared for by up to 10 or 12 wonderful people – it would be impossible to recognize them all. This year, as a group of moms, we brought/made breakfast for the entire preschool staff. We each only spent about what we would have on cheap tchachkes, but (I hope) the end result showed more effort and more appreciation. Rather than just honoring a few of these great women, we tried to honor all 26, from the floating subs to the kitchen staff.

Santa only brings one thing per kid. Just one – a good one, but one. We don’t encourage list-writing, just a visit to Santa or a message sent via elf will do.

I try to make or bake whenever possible. This year it was pumpkin gingerbread, and sugar cookies that the boys helped me to make, that we handed out to the families on our street.

For family, it’s photos. We finally did the big photo shoot in August, which well-supplied parents, siblings, and in-laws this Christmas.

I bought the obligatory Starbucks card for Scooby’s teacher, but rather than throw in (yet another) mug or trinket, I bought her a big stack of books she could add to her classroom library.

For my dearest friends, the ones that I must recognize (because really, I do love to shop)I give ornaments. I pick them out each year, often spending hours to find just the right ones. A glass slipper for Danielle, pink booties for D & B. For Patty, something quirky, different, unusual. This year it was a candy cane, with feet.

The trend is catching, too. I have so many memories hanging on our trees! The Wedgwood from Heather. The gingerbread colony from Patty. My mother’s nativity.

My gal pals don’t need more stuff from me, they just need to know I love them. And these little tokens proffer that sentiment every year when they are pulled out of storage.

A box came today from one of my favorite, most beloved-est people in the world. So many pieces of her around my house, so many blessed memories. She’s not family, but she might as well be. (I don’t save all my gifts till Christmas. If it ain’t under the tree, it’s fair game. If it arrives in the mail, I have at it.) I loved adding a few more little bits of joy to my household tableaux.

See my little entryway greeters, and the new little man who (as I noticed when I went to snap the photo) is about to have his head blown off by a Transformer.

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