GREEN CHRISTMAS GIFTSEveryone is starting to think about Christmas shopping and here is a great resource for eco-friendly gift ideas. Of course, the most earth-friendly thing to do is to make something homemade from found materials, or to buy second hand, so that a new item doesn't have to be produced out of new (or even recycled) materials, which of course, uses lots of energy, gas, etc. But, if that isn't an option for some people on your list, then the above site is a great resource.
The best (but not always easiest) way to be eco-conscious is to simply want less. Practice contentment. The less we want, the less waste we create, the less we spend, the less negative impact on the earth. Being content with what we have, where we are, is not only eco-smart, it is a biblical principle. Paul says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:12
Even when we practice cheerful frugality during the year, it is easy to get carried away during the Christmas season. I began struggling with feelings of inadequacy ("I will never be able to make my house look like that for the holidays!" and the "gimmies" a few weeks ago when the first holiday Pottery Barn catalog arrived! As I learn (in new ways, every day) to have a heart of thankfulness, I am also looking for new ways to be creative with what is around me, either in my closets or in my yard. It is fun to find inexpensive ways to decorate my home for the holidays, or to make things that will be enjoyed by others. The most important thing I want to remember during the holiday season, is to set a tone in my home (what is that saying about mother's and people being happy? If mama ain't happy, then nobody's happy? Something like that...) of contentment, thankfulness, and generosity. I want to point my children toward Christ...not toward their wishlist or the presents under the tree (though there is certainly a place for that, and yes, I will give my children gifts for Christmas).
So, what traditions do you practice with your family during the holidays? How do you decorate frugally? What gifts are you planning for friends and family? What is your biggest struggle during the holiday season? Please share some of your thoughts and insights with me. I love to hear new perspectives and great ideas from others!
*This image from sentience on flickr.com