I'm driving my family crazy.
I taught a Living Simply: Advent & Christmas Sunday school class over 3 weeks at the end of October and into November and now I am trying to practice what I taught. My family is hoping I never teach a class on why Jesus didn't like beer or ice cream (for the record, I would never teach that class).
Leaving my family out of it, what I tend to do is run out of time to be creative and so I spend a lot of money by default on Christmas presents that are usually fun but not always practical (Guitar Hero for the couple about to welcome a newborn? Duh). I also have realized that the most precious commodity for me is time - it's the one thing we can't get back - and since it is our year to have my sister, brother-in-law, and their munchkin with us for a week during the holidays I would rather spend time with them and with my Mom and my son than just about any other gift you could get me (unless you were going to get me a pick-up truck, but that is a post for another day).
And then there is this....
There is something to this.
$450 billion spent on Christmas, an estimated $10 billion to improve everyone's water supply?
I'm pretty sure I am not the only one who would rather be a part of the $10 billion solution, rather than the $450 billion problem.
In previous years I have made something for the deacons and the elders. More than once this meant baking until the very early hours.
In the last couple of years I bought ornaments at Ten Thousand Villages for everyone. It cut down on the hours I was putting into the baking and the feeling I always had that probably up to half of my efforts were thrown out because I know I cannot keep up with all of the food goodies that are brought to me during the holidays.
Now I have a bigger board of Deacons and a Session 3x the size so I'm going to buy an animal through Heifer International in their names and give them a gift card letting them know.
It's not $10 billion in fresh water, but it's something.
As for my family I am trying to be creative and not in a 'look I made you a sock puppet' way but more of a 'I really put a lot of thought into this' way.
The good news is I have a plan and it is starting to come together. But I think one or two of them may read this blog so the unveiling will have to wait.
What are some creative ways you have of not getting caught in the trappings of Christmas?