The Advent Conspiracy fosters "relational giving," where someone gives a gift that brings the giver and the recipient closer together, rather than focusing on the cost of the gift. Yesterday I shared some ideas for this kind of giving, hoping to spark your own creativity. Here are some more...
Give the gift of experience. The Gift Weblog suggests, “There’s nothing like giving someone the gift of experience, it is something they will always remember.” Sample gifts of experience: sky diving, scuba lessons, hot-air balloon rides, cooking school, lunch with a hero, etc.
Time or Skill
Brad suggested giving the gift of time or skill. Brad has given music lessons. He has colleagues who have given bike tune-ups and wine advice. What skills do you have? Can you help somebody set up a blog? Plant a garden? Learn to change the oil in their car?
A few years ago we decided that our three kids didn't need more stuff. So, I really thought about what they did need and that was more time together as a family. In lieu of gifts for the kids we take a small two or three day vacation around Christmas. It can be as simple as renting a cabin and sledding or playing board games for a few days or taking in Christmas sights within a car trip of our home. Now instead of making a Christmas list they ask, "where are we going this year?"
Scripture for the Year
We put everyone's names in a basket and each of us draws one out and this becomes the person you give a scripture to. (We typically do it at Thanksgiving but anytime BEFORE Christmas is perfect, just as long as you have a few days to pray it over.) You pray and ask the Lord to give you a specific scripture for this person that will speak what the Lord wants to speak to them. It has been amazing over the years to hear the scriptures read aloud by the person and to see how it speaks to their spirit, many times in ways you would never imagine!
On the night or day that we celebrate Christmas together we start with the youngest person first (yes we include EVERYONE no matter the age, even if mom or dad have to help) and whoever had picked that persons name gives the scripture to them and it gets read out loud to everyone. It's a great way to keep the focus on the Lord and give Him opportunity to speak a word to you for the coming year.
The fun part is how you present it. We've painted ornaments and put the scripture on it. Given it on paper written or typed out so it can be put somewhere to be seen all year. Made it into a magnet, or a bookmark, or even a frame... the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination and creativity will let you go! Oh and something that I started doing a few years back was writing down the reference in a book that is kept for the family to bring out each year (oh and I've also scrapbooked them, for those of you who like to do that!)
We never intended for this to become a tradition in our family but God did. It all began one Christmas over 15 years ago when we all had little to no money and we were trying to give something that costs nothing and it has turned out to be one of the things that we look forward to each year and has become a tradition for our family ever since. Hopefully you will like the idea and want to adopt it as your family tradition as well. It costs you nothing but a little time in prayer and as much creativity as you can muster!
Check back tomorrow for more!