Lauren Casper » Embracing the Story

Christmas without presents? I like it!

Now that we’ve enjoyed our Turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pie I am flinging myself straight into the Christmas season! I love almost everything about Christmas … except one thing. There is always one area that can get me down and steal my joy.

Presents. Blagh – just thinking about it gets me all irritated. Don’t get me wrong – I love to give presents… in fact there are times when I struggle to wait until Christmas morning (sometimes I don’t make it!) haha BUT – I hate the obligatory gift giving and receiving. I hate knowing that I have to go out and search for something that someone doesn’t really need and will probably have forgotten about by February just so that I can make sure no one’s feelings get hurt. I hate having to rack my brain to come up with a list of things we want for Christmas so that our parents can also go out and buy us things that we don’t really need, and won’t remember we have by February. It’s all so dumb and pointless to me.

Here’s the bottom line truth – as far as material things go we DON’T NEED anything! We actually don’t even want anything! You see, we’re not rich, but we’re not poor either. If we have a need – we go get it! Now, we don’t go out and fulfill all our wants because that would be irresponsible and extremely selfish. A lot of our “wants” are silly and frivolous and if we just wait a month we come to realize we don’t really want it anymore. Then we’re thankful we didn’t waste the money. This makes Christmas really hard for us because honestly do not want anything and don’t need anything.

Can I be even more honest for a moment? I really don’t know anyone who DOES need anything! Seriously! All our family and friends have plenty. We’re middle class Americans – what on earth could we possibly need? It’s so hard to shop for our families for this reason! We always feel like it’s such a waste of our money (and it is) and know that our money could be put to much better use!

So this morning I read Amy’s post about the Hollis family and one thing that leaped out at me was their Christmas tradition… they don’t buy each other presents!! How wonderful!! They just don’t do presents! Instead, they raise money for orphans … a perfect use of their time and money over the Christmas season. Somehow I also think it’s a little more in line with what Jesus would want Christmas to be about too!

So here’s my dilemma … how do we get there? John and I can easily agree not to get each other anything and instead put the money we would spend on presents for each other toward the adoption of our son, a Christmas Tree Angel Child, and/or the Christmas Shoe Box ministry. But what about everyone else? How do we get that to work with our families? How do we not buy presents for anyone and have them understand and not be hurt? How do we get them to not buy us anything and just donate to our adoption or to any other ministry or needy family with the money they would have used for gifts? How do we do that when some of our family doesn’t have our faith, so they wouldn’t get it at all?

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