Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas Time Is Here!

Yes, I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but to this elementary music teacher who starts practicing Christmas music in the beginning of October... TIS THE SEASON, PEOPLE!!

   Every year for about the last four years, I have become progressively more nauseous about the commercialization and materialism in our culture concerning Christmas.   Now, before you roll your eyes and think, "Alright, you conservative right winged freak!"  Just hear me out for a minute....

  I am almost certain that you've observed this scenario.  Yourself or your child receive a gift that gets attention for all of 36 hours and then it gets buried in the bottom of a toy box.

Or re-gifted.

 Or put on a shelf in a closet.

Gifts are awesome.  I love getting them.  I love giving them!  But some of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received were not the Blu-Ray copy of "Dumb and Dumber" or even the cute ankle boots!  (And I LOVE boots!)

   This Christmas Justin and I have decided to try and buy 75% fair trade or charity gifts to give to others!!  I am sharing some ideas with you of some AWESOME gifts that also help show and share the LOVE of Christ this Christmas!!!

Here are my top 5 ideas to get you going!!!

5.  Amazima Jewlery-    Do you know Katie Davis?  She is a 22 year old regular American girl who moved to Uganda a few years ago and has adopted over a dozen children!  She has REVOLUTIONIZED a community, bringing women out of prostitution, feeding and educating children and adults, and sharing God's word with all of them.   Her book, Kisses From Katie, changed my life and opened my eyes to a world way beyond our American bubble.   Grab a BEAUTIFUL $20 necklace made by women in her community!

4.  Rapha House-  Rapha House is an organization that rescues girls out of the devastating sex trafficking industry in Cambodia.   They have safe houses where the girls get healing, Biblical counseling, an education, and vocational trade skills for a new chance at life.   They have BEAUTIFUL handbags, accessories, scarfs, and more all over their site and most items are under $25!

3.  If Then Movement-  Oh how I LOVE this ministry and their incredible products!!  They have the most BEAUTIFUL accessories called "Remnants" made out of fabric remnants that are made into beautiful bracelets, hair clips, pins etc.  They all have a "Prayer Pock-It" where you can write down a prayer for your recipient and slip it inside.  All products are designed to encourage and put your faith into action!   Check them out!!

2.  Samaritan's Purse-  Samaritan's Purse and Compassion International (both respected, trustworthy charities) have sweet online gift catalogs where you can donate in honor of someone and buy things for impoverished people.  You can buy blankets, clean water, shoes, basketballs, goats, chickens!    Last year we bought 4 dozen baby chicks in honor of 4 friends and family members.  In our Christmas card we also gave them a tiny plastic chicken and explained how we had spent our money to help others in their honor.

1.  Hand Made Pinterest Ideas-  So much good stuff out there if you have some time to spend searching intentionally.

(WARNING: Do not get distracted by the gluten free parfait recipes and random photos of romantic tree houses in Tahiti. Not that I do that or anything. Stay focused!)

 This year I have some fun things like "30 Days of Praying For Your Husband" which I have uploaded to photo websites and printed out on photos.  Ball jars filled with little pieces of paper with interesting family conversation starters to pull out for the dinner table.  Write a Bible verse on something pretty for a one of a kind home decor gift.   The possibilities are endless.... :)

BONUS:   Groupon deals- Who doesn't love a good Groupon for a fun experience at a great price?  Go paddle boarding, rollerskating, swim with manatees, visit the Chimp Farm, or paint some pottery!  I've gotten ALL these things to do with my kids for free or cheap on Group social websites!

Merry Christmas everyone and may this season be filled with lots of creative ways to share Christ's love!!!