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How are you spending this season?

Last year we participated in Advent Conspiracy (AC) through our church, Imago Dei Community.  The idea was to redistribute our wealth through a few different ways – spending the bulk of our resources at Christmas on those truly in need, make gifts for family and friends, spending relational time with people rather than just spending cash.  The outcome was amazing and you can read more stories here.  But, I wanted to share with you a bit of my personal experience as well…

As an adult, I’ve always exchanged store-bought gifts with family.  While I always have grand ideas of creating something special by hand, I’ve always either ran out of time, resources or inspiration (usually time…).  Last year, through the inspiration of AC, I invited my family to participate with me in not purchasing gifts for each other but instead taking the money we’d normally spend and using it to buy a gift for someone else.  They agreed and we opted to contribute to a few of World Vision’s projects.  I think we ended up buying a goat for a family in South America and a bicycle for a girl in SE Asia.  The experience was rewarding.  But beyond that, I was also able to lay aside the headache of tromping through consumer-crazed department stores shopping for the next generic, mass-market item that I thought I should buy for someone who probably already has enough anyway.  And, I was able to spend quality time with family and not worry about “did I get the right gift?” or “did I spend enough/too much/too little?” etc.  We had a peaceful holiday and felt good about giving to others.  So, the rewards were both external (to someone else in need) and internal (a peace and restfulness that can’t be bought).

Although I haven’t formally discussed it with family this year, I’m hoping to participate as a family in this great project again.  Here is another site that supports a similar idea (buying handmade items for holiday gifts): Buy handmade pledge.


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