week #17 make christmas count

xmas_marketIt’s that time of the year when I start to get heart palpitations each time I go to the shopping center. The twinkling lights are up and window displays boast paper snowflakes and smiling Santas. All this festivity is a reminder that I should be way ahead of the game when it comes to Christmas gifts. Between Fox and I, we have family dotted around the globe which means last-minute, Christmas Eve shopping is simply not an option for us.

However, yesterday I checked myself and realised that I am totally missing the point when I worry about finding the perfect gift. I end up turning Christmas into a time of stress rather than focusing on what it should really be about: a time of celebration where we remember the birth of Christ (aaahhhh CHRISTmas) and show our friends and family how much we care about them. Yet, our sentiments really should not just end with our immediate circle. What about the millions of people who are not in a position to enjoy this special season due to their situation? Surely, at this time of the year, we should be thinking of the less fortunate even more.

So, I decided that the gifts I purchase this year should benefit more than just the people receiving them. I’m really pleased that I was able to purchase at least half of the presents for our family from ethicalsuperstore.com. What an incredible feeling finding some lovely things that I know will bless the special people in my life but also benefit the people who made them.
I know that sending physical Christmas cards is starting to become a thing of the past but I am, admittedly, a traditionalist and will likely still be giving paper cards this year. Most retailers who sell cards will have a charity selection and I have always thought that this is such a great idea which I will definitely be supporting this year. For those who prefer to keep with the times, there are a number of websites, such as charitygreetings.com, which allow you to send e-cards by giving a donation to a charity of your choice.
Another stop on my gift-hunting trail will be the local charity shops. While the main draw-card is usually the array of good, second-hand clothes I suspect this might be a slightly random gift even for the most open-minded of our family. However, many of the stores have a good range of new, novelty gifts and nik-naks that could make super stocking-fillers.

With all of this in mind, I am really experiencing the joy of the season. While it is hard to see past the consumerism that surrounds Christmas, there are so many organisations and individuals who are trying to make a difference where it counts. This time of year gives us such a wonderful opportunity to support them. Now that is what Christmas is about!

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