Christmas gifts that'll make you cry (in a good way)
I was browsing Christmas gift ideas the other day and came across this plain white tshirt for $110. Normally my first reaction to a price tag like that for something as simple as a tshirt is "Yeah-right." But then I read that this shirt was sewn by an ex-con who learned how to sew in prison. And the high price is designed in part to pay him a living wage, which is something ex-cons have a really difficult time finding.
Immediately I found myself getting a little emotional over the image of a group of gruff, tattooed men sewing their way through a second chance. Suddenly this garment seemed like so much more than just a shirt.
Can gift-giving redeem Christmas?
Christmas gets a bad reputation for being overly materialistic. I'll confess that I'm prone to Christmas criticism myself. The excess of the season can be draining and distracting for those of us seeking to follow Jesus during a sacred time of the year that's been co-opted by "consumer spending reports" and Black Friday mobs.
In spite of this challenge, though, most of us want to express generosity during Christmas. It's why we volunteer in food kitchens and donate canned goods and visit the elderly.
It's also why we give gifts.
Regarding gift-giving, the Internet gives us unprecedented opportunity to find gifts that offer so much more than just material enjoyment. For instance, there are gifts that draw people closer to Jesus. And there are also gift purchases that offer a way to help set captives free around the world. This latter benefit was a mission Jesus embodied and wants us to embody, too.
In light of this mission, consider adding this approach to your Christmas shopping this year:
- Consider a cause that touches your heart. Examples could include supporting the elderly, empowering female entrepreneurs in developing countries, rescuing people from the global slave trade, giving kids in a poverty food and clean water, etc.
- Search online for companies and organizations that actively support that cause
- Purchase from them or donate to them
After dedicating my shopping and giving efforts more earnestly to this process, I can say from personal experience that giving with a mission offers refreshing excitement in gift-giving, and can revive something that feels like a chore or obligation to a joyful experience.