With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to try to hold onto the warm feelings for friends and family we get from a turkey dinner once a year – just food and fellowship, without gifts, parties, elaborate decorations, or stress (except for the person cooking a turkey for the first time!). The story of Christmas as a poor baby in a stable destined to become a refugee, but also the One who shows us the way to God, should inspire those same feelings. Last month, this newsletter offered some options to spend Christmas in a way that honors both God and God’s Creation, and we continue this month.
For people who have already “downsized” and have no wish or space for more “stuff,” give the gift of your time. Consider a meal, or a trip to a museum. Memories can be made at a concert or theater presentation. Any live performance will never be truly duplicated on a screen, no matter how many pixels it has.
Give the gift of your helpfulness. Promise to shovel snow, rake leaves, or do other heavy or difficult tasks.
Gifts of experience are also valuable for children. Pittsburgh has wonderful children’s theater options, and musical groups often have special programs for kids. Taking young family members on a trip, or hosting them for a time, can spur both bonding and memories.
The Bible has many stories of God providing food for the hungry and weary, and gifts of food have been a tradition for a very long time. If you are baking cookies, cakes, or bread as gifts, present them on vintage plates from Goodwill or another such store.
More and more clothing companies are identifying themselves by their responsible practices. Patagonia, for instance, has long been known for its stylish and useful garment, made from recycled plastic. American Giant, while pricey, sources all its fabrics locally and follows very fair labor practices.
Gift wrapping can be both expensive and wasteful. Consider using something useful later on a scarf, for instance, or a napkin. Gift bags can be made with a length of fabric and a simple sewing machine.
Many of us had grandparents or parents who carefully opened each gift, then ironed and saved the paper. It works just as well today!
Magazines used to recommend unusual wrappings such as newspaper comics or maps. These are becoming fewer and farther between! However, ideas abound on the Internet, and people are as creative as ever.
Finally, don’t forget the Bower Hill Bazaar on December 8!
Coming soon – an exciting and fun challenge for the new year. Stay tuned.