by Donna L. Watkins
"The Holidays" are here again. It's a time of year that creates a lot of stress in lives, families and health. I'm hoping that many of you have chosen to avoid the push and shove of the holidays and are keeping it simple. We decided years back to stop all the "clatter and clutter" of December and enjoy the real reason for the season.
We explained to friends and family that we wanted to de-stress the holidays to be able to truly enjoy holiday events and to spend shopping time volunteering to make a difference in lives that have no hope for a holiday at all.
Some of my friends and I exchange contributions to a chosen organization. It's been very special to be able to "sacrifice" a gift to be able to give to somebody who needs seeds to plant for food, or to provide funds where communities have been destroyed because of natural disasters.
It only takes a few minutes to purchase this kind of a gift, but it gives a lifetime of good thoughts and it's an investment in people.
One site that might be helpful for you to "swap gifts" with family members and friends is this one that I use: Alternative Gifts International
Think back ....
How many of the gifts you received were really needed or wanted?
How much of it ends up at a yard sale in the near future?
How much is enough?
Do we really need more to maintain and store away?
What do we teach our children with the way we model/define Christmas?
How much holiday depression could be avoided for the next generation if Christmas wasn't about what you get?
Begin this year to suggest this approach to the holidays and spend the time with family and friends at Christmas musicals or around the fireplace with a cup of tea or hot cider. Enjoy people and share the Christ of Christmas.
Have you noticed that Jesus never hurried?