Take a few minutes and check out this site--Advent Conspiracy. It could change your holidays!Today I joined the Advent Conspiracy [AC] to do my part to de-commercialize Christmas.
Advent Conspiracy has four simple concepts. Worship Fully. Spend Less. Give More. Love All. According to their Website, it started in 2006 as a collaboration of four churches (one of which is in Chesterfield, MO) that decided to try to bring back the true meaning of Christmas. The point is to spend less on Christmas to be able to give to others relationally and to the poor.
I don't get carried away at Christmas, but it's still a shock when the charge card bill comes in January. There are several people I exchange gifts with because I feel obligated to. Advent Conspiracy suggests buying ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas and reallocating that money to those who need help.
Another one of their ideas is to give the gift of time instead of tangible presents. A friend sent me this list that really sums this idea up:
10 Free Holiday GiftsThere will still be presents under our tree this year, but I'll also be trying to rethink what I want Christmas to be about.
by Melissa Mayntz
Add more value to your holiday than any price tag can measure
Holiday gifts may be one of the last things to purchase on a strict budget, but they are often the first things that recipients notice missing, even without ill will. Gift givers whose budgets are stretched this year, however, do not have to play Scrooge with gift lists. These ten gifts are completely free to give and will make a lasting impression both on the giver and the recipient.
Visiting an old friend or spending a chilly winter afternoon with someone who is unable to get out is a great gift to warm the hearts of both parties. A simple conversation, board game, shared meal, or watching a movie is a great way to spend the time together enjoying the holiday spirit.
2. A Letter
The "happy family update letter" is a popular feature for many holiday cards, but nothing beats a hand-written, personal letter. Longer than a quick note or signed greeting card, a special letter can be reread and enjoyed throughout the holiday season.
It is easy to draw or print simple personal coupons to give as stocking stuffers or meaningful gifts. A free kiss coupon is perfect for couples, while kids will appreciate a "get out of trouble free" coupon or a "dinner pick" certificate to choose a favorite home cooked meal.
Free labor is a great gift to share to help ease that special someone's holiday burden. Offer to shovel snow for a week, baby-sit during another holiday, or share special skills the recipient can use, such as professional advice or tips that are free to give but will be invaluable for them.
5. Quitting a Habit
Making a concerted effort to quit a bothersome habit like biting fingernails, interrupting, etc. is a thoughtful way to show someone that you've been listening to their requests for you to stop throughout the year. Stronger habits such as smoking and gambling may be more difficult to quit, but doing so is an even more meaningful gift.
6. No Arguing
The perfect gift kids can give their parents is a day free from petty arguments and fights. The same concept applies to tense family situations or any social occasion when not everyone may get along, but time free from that tension is a great gift to offer.
Pampering someone special doesn't have to cost a mint. Offer a neck or foot massage, draw a warm bubble bath, or otherwise treat them like they deserve all of this and more for a thoughtful gift that will be thoroughly enjoyed.
8. Time Alone
Parents especially will appreciate the gift of time alone. Offer to take care of the kids, answer the phone, and deal with any emergencies that crop up in order to give the recipient time to enjoy whatever they want or to catch up with their own to-do list.
9. Day of Chores
A day of chores can be a useful and productive gift. Whether it includes daily tasks such as cooking a meal and cleaning the kitchen or too long delayed chores such as cleaning out the garage or attic, offering a 24-hour period of complaint-free servitude is sure to be appreciated.
The holidays often bring family and personal problems into the spotlight when fights break out or estrangements become apparent. Make this holiday season extra special with the gift of forgiveness, and move past disagreements to welcome the new year with a new attitude toward one another.