Christmas Shopping: Good or Bad Idea?

The excitement of Christmas is filling the crisp autumn air! Decorations are slowly emerging from the attic. People everywhere are trying to remember, “How exactly did I get these lights on the roof last year?” Starbucks is serving their holiday drinks, including the infamous pumpkin spice latte!

Christians all over the world are anticipating the celebration of Christ’s birth. The wonder and joy of it all, Immanuel, God with us!  All the songs and lights in the world cannot adequately praise our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ!

image by hjjanisch

And then comes shopping.

Yes, let me hear the groans. This is the part of Christmas that has everyone in a bind. We dread the chaos of this ritual. If we were not afraid of being called a Scrooge, many of us would simply avoid the practice of Christmas shopping and gift-giving.

Why?  Here are a few solid reasons:

1. Materialism. Society is far too consumed with marketing and selfish thinking. In the spirit of wanting to return the Christmas spotlight to the birth of Christ, let’s put aside our fixation with gifts and “getting more stuff.”

2. Busyness.  We all want to spend the Christmas holiday with friends and family, focusing on relationships and the amazing love of God expressed through the sending of his Son to earth for our redemption. Shopping takes us away from our family, draining our time and energy.

3. Honestly, there is nothing left to buy. While there are certainly families and individuals in America that have acute needs this Christmas, many of us have all that we need and more. When we head out to the mall to shop for our family, the frustration is that we cannot think of anything that they do not already have. So, we end up buying them the Lord of Rings trilogy on Blu-Ray. They already have it on regular DVD, but the Blu-Ray version is supposed to have special interviews with the catering company that fed the whole film crew for the entire trilogy. Now that’s footage worth watching!?

But wait . . .  before we completely eliminate shopping, let’s examine some positive alternatives:

1. Having stuff is okay. While materialism is a real threat to modern society and our relationship with God, we should not vilify physical resources.  There are billions of people in the developing world that would love to have your “first-world problem” of figuring out which outfit to wear in the morning.

Don't look a gift donkey in the mouth!

2. Shopping can be fun when the need is real. Going to the mall to look for a gift for someone who has everything = frustrating. Buying something for a family that desperately needs help = soul-satisfying. Utilizing Food for the Hungry’s Christmas Catalog, you can assist a vulnerable family with a resource that will change their lives. Or perhaps you could help shop for people who just lost everything.  By giving to FH’s Philippines relief effort, you are helping us purchase the essentials for families in tremendous need of physical and spiritual help. You can also have fun in caring for those in your local community. Connect with your church and find out what they are doing to assist needy families in the community.

3. Shopping doesn’t have to consume your life.  You do not have to stand in line all night on Black Friday to find great deals. Food for the Hungry makes frugal shopping simple via the Christmas Catalog. We have worked hard to find the best prices for life-giving items. We want to make your dollars stretch as we seek to serve the most vulnerable. So, skip the mall-mayhem and get online and start investigating how you can change lives with a few simple clicks of the mouse.

So, how will your Christmas shopping be different this year?

About Joshua Kienzle

Redeemed by grace and always the optimist, Josh loves to savor the simple things of each day. While we wait and watch for the extraordinary, amazing people and events are passing before us all the time. Traveling through 38 countries has taught Josh to keep his eyes open; you never know when something special is about to happen. Josh and his beautiful wife Carrisa have two children, Caleb and Evangeline, and love the adventure of parenting. Always a student, Josh is currently continuing his studies at Phoenix Seminary.

, , , , , , ,