Experiments can be fun right? That was just about the only part of science classes I enjoyed in high school and college. Mixing chemicals, cutting open dead things…one of my favorites looking back at high school was when my physics/chemistry teacher, Mrs. Rymer, pulled out the liquid nitrogen and we proceeded to dip various objects into the boiling freezing liquid and then watch how they shattered when we dropped them (or threw them across the room…I can’t remember).
Last year our family did one of those shattering experiments with Christmas. We’ve pretty much always given in some manner to organizations during Christmas as a way to remind us and the kids that Christmas was not about us or all the crazy commercialism that we saw plastered everywhere. Things were kind of coming to a crossroads in our thinking and we were just pretty fed up with the whole idea of continuing the same routine. Now, I know what you might be saying. “Grinch!”…”You Scrooge!”…”You hater of the sacred green and red and bows and ribbons!” But to be totally honest, no. That’s not it at all. I do like presents and watching the kids open gifts. I love going to the Christmas Tree farm and cutting down our tree with the family. I love the festivities and traditions…even the music (if it’s sung by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, or Frank Sinatra) And my secret family recipe for homemade eggnog and my mom’s Kringle (So good! I get sick every time because I just can’t stop myself…totally worth it.)
No, all of those things are great, but if we’re not careful they can totally crowd out the meaning of why Christ-followers celebrate Christmas. So, in an effort to really take our focus off of the material aspects and return it to Jesus, we decided to take a look at the few years prior and see what we had been normally spending on Christmas. We set a goal to use 90% of what we normally spent on Christmas presents and put that toward elevating the wellbeing of someone else. We still got the kids a few little things, but the main portion of the budget was going to be used on people who really needed it. We just really wanted something different out of Christmas.
We got the kids involved in looking through websites and catalogs from fantastic organizations that really elevate the wellbeing of people throughout the world in industries such as clean water and sanitation projects, agriculture projects, child sponsorships and the battling human trafficking. We would spend nights sitting around the dinner table and they would plan and conspire together on how they could team up together to buy a llama for a family rather than smaller things individually. It was awesome!
So, this year we’re doing it again and we’re inviting you to participate with us. It is a great way to combat the commercialism and consumerism that is so wound up in Christmas and the holiday season. Would you consider joining us? If 90% is just not on your radar right now maybe consider doing 80% or 70% or whatever it is that would be a sacrifice for you.
We would love to see and hear about your story too. So, if you are willing, take a picture of yourself or your family doing this with each other. Get creative on how you give and combat the commercialism and consumerism of Christmas. Post those pictures or videos to Instagram and Facebook and tag us and use #iWantSomethingDifferentForChristmas so you can inspire others and be inspired by others. Invite your friends to join you in your experiment! You will be such a hero to someone in the world when you do this.
Here is a list of some fantastic organizations that you might consider supporting with your 90%. Or choose another that you are passionate about. Regardless, take the risk to do something different with Christmas this year.Let’s not allow this Christmas to skip by without doing something truly meaningful and restorative with it.
Preemptive Love Coalition
Give Clean Water
International Justice Mission
Heart of Christ Ministries