Thursday, November 20, 2008

Conspiring at Christmas: Part One

Recently I posted a video explaining the idea of the Advent Conspiracy. For a lot of people, this is a dificult concept to understand.

The idea is to really put a lot of thought into what you will "gift" someone over the holidays. Some people focus on eliminating all gifts. While this is each person's perogative, I personally believe that boughten gifts are quite alright as long as they aren't overkill or just for the sake of giving a gift. I want gifts that are from the heart, rather those bought in obligation.

Another aspect of the Advent Conspiracy is relational giving: giving a part of your self, your time, or your talents. This could look like spending a special afternoon with someone, or making them something from one of your hobbies. It could be sharing your heart in a letter or sharing your talents in the kitchen.

To help you grasp on this type of giving, I thought I'd post a few ideas for you in the weeks to come. Here are a few that have been mulling over in my head:

For a young child:

Puzzles and board games: Even with very young children, these are great relational tools. One can spend time playing with these items in a group. They are great for cooperation, learning to take turns, sharing, and just playing together. Great relationship building.

Craft supplies: Spend some time purchasing supplies to craft with a little one in your life. Teach them to fingerpaint, stencil, color, use sidewalk chalk, etc. Encourage their creativity and imagination. Laugh while drawing for each other. Pre-plan some art activities and spend several sessions exploring the mediums together.

Books: There's nothing like snuggling up with a book together. And you might be surprised how a young child can even follow a chapter book like Little House in the Big Woods. Live too far away to snuggle up with your grandchild? Why not tape yourself reading the book and send the tape and book together? Then your grandbaby can snuggle up with Grandma every night.

Dolls: One doll. That's it. Watch how it sparks your child's imagination. Do you know how to sew? Even better. Take some time to make a few outfits complete with purses and accessories and provide your child with hours of play.

A weekly outing to the park: Make a committment to take your child to the park once a week, just the two of you or as a family. The quality time that you spend together will outweigh the joy over another electronic gift.

Special outings to the zoo, a baseball game, or event: Make a big production of it. Present your child with an award stating that the recipient is entitled to a fun filled day with all the trimmings. Baseball? Tickets, t-shirt, hot dog and Daddy's undivided attention. Zoo? Tickets, cotton candy, and a ride on the elephant. Some other ideas include: the aquarium, a local festival in your area, or the local water park.

Lessons: Swim lessons, dance lessons, sports coach, you name it. The list is endless. Swim lessons can be invaluable for little ones and is a fun activity that youngsters can enjoy with their parents.

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about how you can make this Christmas more meaningful with your family. I'm not suggesting that we cut out gift giving all together. Rather that we re-evaluate our spending and compulsion to buy.

To check out more Frugal Friday ideas, click on Biblical Womanhood.

To see how others are pursuing simplicity, check out Keeper of the Home and Simple Living Saturdays.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Those are great suggestions! I also watched the Advent Conspiracy video, and loved it. It would be so wonderful to see more people simplifying their gift giving at Christmas, and instead, giving more to truly serve and help and love others!

For our kids this year, we are doing one gift each (and it's not terribly expensive, either) and a few small stocking stuffers that will likely be homemade.

We will also be choosing a way to give to others as a family with some of our Christmas money, and I'm so excited to include our children in that decision!

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

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