a different sort of christmas

We started this conversation Monday with a post called Skipping Christmas. And here’s the link to the radio interview I did by that same name (you can listen online). And yesterday I gave you a bunch of ideas for Re-imagining Christmas by being conscious of where you buy your gifts.

Some of you want More Lists! And More Ideas!

And some of you are completely overwhelmed.

I get it. (and I actually identify more with you people in the second group)

A sweet friend e-mailed me today and said she didn’t want to leave her comment on my blog, because she was afraid of sounding negative. But she’s not really a jewelry person, and she just doesn’t need any more scarves and bags. She’s trying to simplify (amen and amen) and this kind of stuff, noble as it is, isn’t really helping matters.

I feel her pain.

But then she shared a cool story about reading a blog today (she said the blogger and I share similar passions) and found a link to a company selling dish towels woven by Mayans in Guatemala. And she needs new dish towels!

“So I guess I have a lesson learned,” she said. “I may need to dig a bit deeper but shopping responsibly is my responsibility and it is more than coffee and chocolate and a necklace. It can be time consuming but is worth it. Maybe it will be a resolution for the new year (heck, why wait) to be conscious of my purchasing choices and spend the time to research the places I purchase from.”

Overwhelming, yes. But also so important.

Our family has bought fair trade coffee for quite awhile now (I say our family, but I’m the only one who drinks coffee), but recently we’ve made a commitment to buying only fair trade chocolate too. Yikes. Hard stuff. (But God bless Costco and their Fair Trade dark chocolate chips & dark chocolate almond bark!)

And we don’t have a lot of extra money, so buying awesome stuff from Noonday and Timbali Crafts (another organization I really admire) isn’t always possible. That’s when the thrift store and getting creative with handmade stuff comes in, well, handy.

I was going to make some more lists today, but honestly, I’m kind of tired. Life has been a little on the rough side this past week or so. And I just realized tonight that we’ve only been doing this vegan thing for THIRTY DAYS (it seems like 30 years).

So, I’ll share one last idea and call it a night. And maybe I’ll do the list thing tomorrow. And there will be some Dancing Elephant (my girls’ home-based business where they sell stuff for Cambodia) goodies on the blog for you to purchase on Friday if you’re so inclined.

One of my sweet friends e-mailed me last week and told me she made a donation to The Hard Places Community in honor of my birthday, because she knew that’s the kind of gift I would want. And it made me so happy.

I was thinking today that if someone asks you what you want for Christmas, and you really don’t need/want a thing, you could tell them something like, “Hey, would you be so sweet as to make a donation to such-and-such in my honor?”

Like this sweet little boy Owen with cerebral palsy whose family is in need of a handicap-accessible van. (I know this family and would be so blessed if any of you feel led to give to them.)

Or maybe a friend is adopting.

Or someone you know has a terminally-ill child.

Or you know a single mom who could really use some tangible love in the form of a bill paid.

So, yeah. Let’s keep this discussion going. If you get overwhelmed, take a breather. But if God is nudging you to make some changes, I encourage you to take a listen. You can do this, friend.

And here’s a link to the blog my friend e-mailed me. I just peeked around a bit today but loved what I read. She’s doing 31 Days of Giving that Gives Back. If you’re hankering for some more Christmas ideas, I think you’ll find them there.

Let me know if there’s anything specific I can help you with (and if you’re able to answer someone’s question in the comments, knock yourself out!). I’m here for you, friends. It’s my honor and pleasure.

Happy Wednesday!

3 thoughts on “a different sort of christmas

  1. Shannon

    I just finished reading your blog and went over to check out my news feed on FB. How ironic to see that my girlfriend who just made a trip to Haiti has started an Etsy page to send money back to Haiti using products made by Haitians! Here’s her link… http://www.etsy.com/shop/KeAnsanm On another note, 2 years ago when my grandmother was 102, (at 103, she quietly went home to be with Jesus!) we struggled for Christmas ideas until I heard about Gospel for Asia. So, in my grandmothers honor, my family donated a sewing machine to a family in Asia so that the mother could also provide financially for her family. She absolutely loved that since she was passionate about sewing in her younger years! It is now a tradition to either help someone local or overseas who may need a helping hand. Last year, it was actually my sister-in-law who needed help. I’m excited to see who we get to bless this year!!! Thank you for this encouragement and for encouraging others to look outside their box at Christmas!! 🙂

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