Those who know me well know that one of the ways i count the success of a year is how late in the year i hear my first Christmas Carol [holding thumbs – still not there!]
But looks like i am the ‘there is always one’ this time around as we have barely crawled our way into October and i am already bringing up Christmas?
Well, i know not everyone is a champion leave-it-all-for-the-night-before-and-then-go-on-a-panic-shopping-spree guy like myself and some of you start planning these things really early… and my mate Dave messaged me this week to suggest now was a good time to start speaking about Creative Christmas things…
For many people, Christmas tends to be an overspending, overeating time and if we were a little more intentional about it beforehand, we could instead make it a time to show genuine love and care for those around us, especially those who can’t even afford to overeat or overspend at all.
So if you get nothing else out of this, my desire is for you and for me and for all of us, to think carefully about Christmas before it happens and make it about someone besides you and yours. Consider the possibility of life-changing transformation for someone else, or even just lifting someone’s spirits for a day or more…
We have a wheel
i could write a new post, but over the past few years i have compiled a few different really helpful posts on how to think differently about Christmas and thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse into some of them and let you click the link and check it out for yourself.
The first post is this one i wrote about being intentional at Christmas, with a number of practical suggestions such as the following:
# What if you gave your whole feast away to someone else? Take the budget of what you would normally spend on your excessive meal [maybe this is something your extended family might even be interested in joining you in – or something they’d kick you out of the family for – exciting either way] and give it anonymously to a friend or neighbour you know is struggling via a third party or an envelope slipped into their mailbox with an explanation.
Creative Suggestions for Christmas
In 2015 i asked people on Facebook for some creative suggestions and here are some of the ones they came up with, including a very helpful note from Kari:
Also, a note to those who employ women in their homes to discuss what would be most useful as a bonus or a token of your affection. Never assume that anyone wants or needs what you want or need.
There were actually so many great suggestions that came out of that, so i ran a second post over here which included this brilliance from Dané:
Every year for Christmas since I was in high school, we’ve done Christmas a little differently than we used to. We each pick a name from a hat, and that is the person you buy a gift for (normally limited to R100) and all the other money we would have spent on gifts and Christmas lunch gets piled together and we spend it on making lunch boxes (cold meats, salads, drinks and a sweet treat) and we all jump in the car and go hand it out to the homeless in the inner city.
Afterwards, we have lunch (normally the same as the lunch we handed out) and spend time together as a family. It really helped us to cut down on the excessive eating, overspending and wasting!
What if Christmas was not about me?
One year i put out a status that simply asked this question, “What if Christmas was not about me?” and got all of these responses, one of which was this from my good friend Steve:
Christmas has never been all about me…well except maybe when I was ten years old or younger, but Paul says something like when I was a child I acted as a child but as I have matured I have put childish things in the past. All of that said I think a better question might be What if Christmas was not about feeding the imperialistic Capitalist machine?
Christmas as a parent
Another time i asked a whole bunch of parents for some creative ideas they had which helped teach their children a better understanding of Christmas and they shared some great ideas like this one from my sister-in-law:
We’ve used the idea of the advent box, putting one item in a day so on Christmas Day we can give the box of things to someone. Our 2 year old already understands it and is super excited to look for something of hers each day to give away and she gladly puts it in the box and leaves it there. We’ve chosen to do items from in the house so we’re not going out and spending more money on things.
Christmas on the Twitterer
Last year i even turned it into a Hashtagging game and i am hoping to run the same game again this year [let me know if you’d like to co-host with me, probably 15 November] asking people to share their ideas around the tag #TheGiftYouGive which also brought out some incredible alternatives like this one:
What if #TheGiftYouGive is an invitation to someone who might be alone this Christmas, to join in with your family feast?
— Brett FISH Anderson (@BrettFishA) November 29, 2016
So there you have it, a number of creative ideas and suggestions and thoughts around Christmas. Do you have any other? What is one way you plan to spend Christmas, or money at Christmas, that is going to make a difference to someone outside of your family and friend circles this year? And who are you going to invite to join you?
Thanks Dave for the reminder and let’s make this one the best Christmas yet.