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A bit amusing, for such a frugal minimalist who hates commercialism, I like to go all out for Christmas.

(Another name for it is “cheap,” I am ridiculously cheap like your grandmother who survived the Great Depression and now washes paper towels and hangs them up to dry.)

Recently someone lectured me about the environment and how we need to recycle and it took everything I had to not to just blurt out, “Child, we practically invented recycling! Where in the heck have you been?” Reduce, reuse, and repurpose. It’s a way of life, for goodness sakes.

So why shouldn’t we skip the gifts? Because gifts are the reason for the season. Jesus is the gift we are celebrating. He gave us a gift, His unmerited favor. Giving and receiving small gifts is symbolic, a token expression of His great gift that we can never repay. Every time we give a gift we remember the gift we have been given.

And when we receive a gift we didn’t earn, we don’t really deserve, we weren’t expecting, it is humbling and sometimes even awkward. Ah sheesh, I didn’t get you anything. It’s too expensive. This is embarrassing. Well, that’s kind of what’s Jesus Christ did for us and it often feels much the same.

Y’all can indulge small children if you like, make their Christmas present dreams come true whenever possible, but I’m thinking mostly of grown people here and the fun of handmade gifts. There is nothing sweeter then a box of fudge or some knitted socks. Write a poem, paint a rock, send a letter, make a wreath, bake some cookies, frame a photograph. I’m a huge fan of homemade gifts. Honestly, it’s not just about money but rather sharing your heart, putting some thought into it. Also, we older people tend to have stuff coming out of our ears. Small children often desire the latest thing, but us adults tend to already have everything we need and more. How many ties and socks can you get for dad?

Make gifts for people and remember to make yourself one, too. If you are alone, that is doubly true. Wrap a gift for yourself and treasure what and Who it symbolizes.

The struggle is real, the financial (and emotional trauma) of Christmas has always been with us. This year there is also a lot of inflation, financial struggle, and confusion out in the world. Tragically people often go into debt, trying to buy happiness for the people they love. The thing is, happiness can’t be bought. If I had a billion dollars I would want to give my kids good health, a strong relationship with Jesus, peace of mind, and moments of joy. The problem being, those “things” are not really things at all. One simply can’t buy the unseen things that truly matter. I want to give you a happy life, but alas that is just not within my power.

So if you wrestle with these things which I hope you do because that means you are in good company, here are a couple of other blogs talking about similar things, “How To Survive Christmas” and “Are You Skipping the Gifts This Year?”