A Different Kind Of Christmas

18 Nov

I was quite encouraged to read Cindy’s post A Holly Jolly Fair Trade Christmas a couple of days ago, as I have been thinking along the same lines for the past year now. Last Christmas I looked at all of the “stuff” which we have been given as a family and I felt a little sick to the stomach. Now I know these gifts are a way in which our family bless us, for which I am very grateful, but some of it was not really needed, and one particular toy my son made such a fuss about getting he has only played with once. It now sits on a table in his bedroom gathering dust. I felt like last Christmas was our last Christmas like that, and we are doing things quite differently this year.

We can’t afford to spend a lot of money of people, so rather than buy toiletries or other items which might not be either used or wanted, or succumb to the pressure of adding to our present because it doesn’t look “good enough”, we told our family that we were going to give them gifts of hope this year. Our small amount of money is going to bless other people with vital things they need in order to survive. We have purchased gifts through World Vision and Traidcraft. Thus far we have brought a mosquito net, a water irrigation system, water purification tablets, a meal for 70 children, and help for a silk worker to set up their own business. Jonathan’s parents have given us money to buy our Christmas present with, which we have also decided to use on a world vision gift. This will include buying either a herd of goats, pair of breeding Llamas or planting 1/2 an acre of rain forest. Plus two small gifts which we will buy for Ben and Grace – birth certificates for children in Bolivia, so that they can get health care and have access to education.

We have brought Ben and Grace presents, as we don’t want them to miss out on the “magic” of Christmas, but we want them to understand the message behind it, not the consumerism within it. We have a CD of Christmas stories to listen to, that includes “The Cinnamon Bear”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, and “The Nativity.” We’ll be making cookies for family members and some nice keepsakes, such as Ben and Grace’s hand prints. Like Cindy, we are trying to buy fair trade produce the best we can. I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how Christmas has got to the commercialized, materialistic event it is today. It makes me quite saddened.

How will you be celebrating and shopping this year?

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5 Responses to “A Different Kind Of Christmas”

  1. Rach November 18, 2007 at 19:34 #

    Fantastic, I think this is a great idea. We gave a few of these gifts last year and will do the same this year.

    For anyone else who’s thinking of doing the same, I can really recommend Grassroots’ Alternative Gift List. They don’t take any money for their admin costs so all the money for the gift goes to the project. They run a good child sponsorship scheme along the same principles too…

  2. cindy November 18, 2007 at 22:38 #

    Great post Lyn! I’ll add to my links list. I’m impressed and overwhelmed by how much you’ve already gotten done, by the way! I’m just starting to process.

  3. lynhallewell November 21, 2007 at 19:39 #

    Thanks Rach. I didn’t know about the Grassroots’ Alternative Gift List, it looks great.

  4. lynhallewell November 21, 2007 at 19:41 #

    Thanks Cindy

  5. Paul November 23, 2007 at 22:10 #

    erm usual present exchange – i think christmas is good in terms of encouraging people to give and to think about what others want.

    We just have a budget and try and stick to it where we can.

    Your version tho sounds v cool as well…

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