‘Tis the season of gift giving. It is practically unavoidable. I have heard stories from those who lived through the Depression of how getting an orange (and only an orange) at Christmas was the gift of all gifts. I am not sure how an American child would respond to that sort of gift today. I remember friends who were Quakers who gave their twins one gift each at Christmas and no more. I was saying to Lori that you have to start that kind of thinking and level of expectation when children are very, very young. But then there are the grandparents and other relatives who see it as their duty and right to shower your children with gifts. It gets complicated, doesn’t it?

Rather than fight this gift giving, I offer the following to consider before buying holiday and for that matter, any gifts:

  • Usefulness
  • Made of sustainable materials?
  • Sustainably made?
  • Can return to the earth
  • Handmade
  • Needed
  • Educational
  • Can be refurbished or refashioned?
  • Handed over to be cherished anew
  • Handed down- carrying tradition
  • No battery or outlet required to use
  • Sends the child outdoors
  • Allows for discovery
  • Experiences rather than “things”

Or perhaps this formula for the holiday season: Give one gift that the child wants and one they need. Or a book, an article of clothing, and a food treat.

Take time during the 12 days of Christmas to do a thorough inventory of one’s things and adopt the discipline of giving away one thing a day for 12 days.

My hope for you in this next month is that you can keep the stress level low, expenditures low, and delight high by simply being in the “presence” of those whom you love.

Peace be with us all,

Rev. Lo