While I would like to take credit for this, I would also like to take credit for the clothes & house being clean most of the time. Alas, with little investigation, you find my amazing wife responsible. Several weeks ago she shared with me an idea that had been brewing in her head. Maybe she saw it or read it somewhere, but she tossed it out to me. And after some conversation, the brand new "Christmas Gift Idea" was born in the Mayfield home. Allow me to share with you the purpose of this big, semi-wrapped box that's parked in front of our Christmas Tree.
Beginning yesterday, December 13th, there are 12 days left until that special day when we celebrate the greatest gift ever given - the Son of God becoming one of us so that He could redeem us and save us. Over the last few years (as most of our friends know well) we have made every attempt and effort in our family to make sure that Christmas is wholly and completely about Christ and giving to others. Don't worry - our kids still get presents. But they don't get 17 presents. We don't do overkill or excess. Our desire is that our children don't unwrap their last gift, fall over in exhaustion into the pile of "stuff" they've just received, only to muster the strength to inquire: "Is that it?" We're trying to teach them (and ourselves) to be more consumed with and excited about how we can bless someone else with a gift. And here we find the purpose for the box. For the "12 Days" leading up to Christmas, each day we will find 1 thing in our closet, our drawers, our toy cabinets that we're ready to part with. And I'm not talking about crap either - like when you take the Lima Beans to the can food drive or give that 13-year old sweater your Aunt Florence knitted you when you were in Junior High - I'm talking about a toy, a shirt, a pair of shoes, a stuffed animal, a coat (you get the point) that someone would actually want to wear, play with, or be seen in. The GOOD stuff! This is truly giving.
To give you an example of what this does for us, I spent 5 minutes this morning deciding to put a pair of shoes in the box that I REALLY like...but had to come to grips with the reality that a) I hadn't actually worn them in over a year and b) someone else could really use. Tonight my children will probably spend more than 5 minutes staring into their heaping pile of toys deliberating over the decision of what they're ready to part with. And they'll be OK with it. That hasn't always been the case, but they're learning. And if I'm being honest, I am too.
This little idea of ours (which I'm sure we subconsciously stole from someone or somewhere else) is just one of a million you can use to very intentionally make Christmas in your home about giving, not getting. One of the greatest resources out there to not only find ideas like this, but to share them as well, is through the folks at Advent Conspiracy. Be a part of the great conversation that's going on at Rethinking Christmas. Check it out. Take back Christmas. Put some thought and sweat and time into your giving. Teach your family what this whole season is about. This Christmas, Give Presence!
Any ideas you want to share? Let's hear it!