At some point this Christmas season I, and most weary women I know, will ask the perennial question, "What do pricey gifts from the mall—that I can't really afford and my loved ones don't need—have to do with the real meaning of Christmas?"
If you're anything like me, at some point you've felt a bit ambivalent about the whole retail-driven enterprise of shopping for holiday gifts. We want to give gifts that will delight our loved ones. We want to hear the "oohs" and "ahhs" on Christmas morning when Aunt Millie unwraps the monogrammed glow-in-the-dark bedroom slippers we had imported from Italy. But we're not entirely convinced that a mountain of credit card debt to buy novelty gifts headed for a landfill is the very best way to celebrate the birth of the One who was born in a manger.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting going all Ebeneezer Scrooge! Most of us still want to give good gifts at the holidays—and possibly even "do good" at the same time.
A few years ago I decided to experiment by giving my loved ones a "virtual" gift from World Vision. For example, I "bought" the family knitter a sheep. The sheep was offered to a family in need who would use it both to earn income and also to bless their community through principles of micro-business. So on Christmas morning each person in my family received a certificate describing the gift made in their name and an awesome Christmas ornament I'd sculpted of their faces. (Because I'm a sucker for the "ooh" factor, that's why.)1
Gifts that Keep on Giving
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