This past weekend, we came through what is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year. Multitudes of people got an early start on their Christmas shopping. Much has been written on the consumerism that grips our population during this time of year.
I would like to suggest a different way, maybe a better way, of gift giving and shopping for those gifts. You see, when we buy and give expensive gifts to our friends an relatives, we create two actions – one of giving and one of receiving. Both of these actions should make at least one party feel good. The giver feels good because of the act of giving. The receiver feels good because they know that they are loved (or at least cared for) and have received a gift that is useful in some way. I believe that here is a way to give this season that can actually increase the feelings of satisfaction for more people and provide some relief from the stresses of shopping, the nerve wracking traffic, and post-holiday crush of bills that inevitably pile up as we try to express our love with more lavish gifts season after season.
What if there were a way to give that could make at least three parties feel happy and satisfied? And what if one of the parties could be multiple people, so that there existed the possibility of 4, 5, or maybe even 10 people being fulfilled from a single act of giving. Doesn’t that sound like a better thing? What if the gift didn’t require you to swim upstream against the teaming throng of Yuletide shoppers. What if you didn’t have to risk life and limb in traffic torrents that could test the temperament of the most talented taxicab drivers of New York? What if you could choose price points for all your gifts based upon the good they do and not the freakish supply demand curve that make things like "Tickle Me Elmo" such budget busters? Does it sound like a way of shopping and giving that might be of interest to you?
Well, here is one way that you can accomplish that. Go to Samaritan’s Purse and read about their Christmas Catalogue. There are dozens and dozens of gift categories and you may choose to give as little or as much as you like to fit your budget. In our household, we are sending out our Christmas lists to family and friends suggesting that they give in our name to the Christmas Catalogue. How does this satisfy more people than just the two who are in traditional gift giving? Well first the giver of the gift feels good because of the act of giving, the receiver of the gift [those in desperate need around the world] feels good because a vital need has been filled by a stranger who has shown them love. The person in whose name the gift was given feels good and is blessed because of the act of sacrifice for their fellow man. It seems a much better way to give to me. I hope that it will to you.
Please pass this idea along to your friends and family – help make the world a better place.