How can we fight the materialism of Christmas??


I just read a startling statistic: “We will spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas. 30 billion would end world hunger.” Now, I realize this may not even be an exact statistic, but you get the point. Am I the only one who gets annoyed with the ridiculous amount of money we spend on ourselves at Christmas?? We are already so spoiled here in America. We need nothing, yet we spend extravagently on more “stuff.” And how do we, as Christians, justify using all that money for things we don’t need, when so many in the world are suffering?

And to be honest, the REALLY annoying part to me, is that we do it “in honor of God’s gift” to us. Somehow, God’s incredible, sacrificial gift of His Son gets used as an excuse for us to indulge in materialism. Confusing God’s sacrificial gift with our insatiable desires…mingling our lusts and pleasures with worship…yikes!!

Now, don’t get me wrong…I do love Christmas. At least, some parts of it!! 🙂 I love getting presents, and I love giving presents…so I’ll be the first to say I don’t have the answer here. We actually tried to do Christmas one year without presents. We focused on giving to others, serving the poor, loving the elderly….our kids actually handled it beautifully. But we felt sad for them. We ended up surprising them with presents, because we couldn’t go through with it! We just couldn’t stand the thought of them hearing what all their friends got, and them saying they got nothing. Something’s not right about that either! Like I said, I don’t have the answers. We’ve ended up compromising by saying they each get 3 gifts (plus stocking gifts) from us, and they also buy gifts for each other. So they still end up with a pile of gifts…and I go back to my initial misgivings….

Am I indulging in materialistic nonsense? Am I being a poor steward? Or am I giving my children sweet Christmas memories? Or should I instead be using this money to spread the gospel and further His kingdom? AHHHHHH!!!!! It’s a dilemma.

I’m actually crying out for help here! How are YOU handling this dilemma? What are some good ways to keep this in balance? I’d love to hear your thoughts…


6 Responses to “How can we fight the materialism of Christmas??”

  1. Cathy Says:

    Man! Great questions Charity! and I don’t have the answer either…and I am completely guilty of overspending every year. And every year I ask myself the same questions you’ve just raised…only to do it again the next year. Are we just so caught up in our culture that we don’t know how to get off the wheel? and you are so right about the kids…it is so hard for we as parents to make the decision for them…one that effects their Christmas. But…what if it was God doing the prompting, and they could respond to His idea of what Christmas giving should look like…then, it would not be Us as parents doing it To them…but everyone together doing what God has prompted…
    So…sounds good, but how do we get there…

  2. Laurie Burke Says:

    Great post! Since Meghan was a baby we always limited her gifts to 7….this was just in case things were tight one year, she would never be used to getting a TON of gifts one year and not as many the next (I plan way too much! lol). This year since we are able, we are taking in a niece and nephew from Arkansas and sharing our Christmas with them. We are hoping they get something positive out of this both spiritually and have wonderful memories!

  3. Laura M. Says:

    We don’t have kids so that makes it WAY easier for us. Maybe the “no presents” was too extreme, but better to find a happy medium somehow. I do have two thoughts from my childhood….We got LOTS of wrapped gifts under the tree (to have the fun of opening them and wondering what was inside!) but most were very LITTLE and simple things. Depending on our age…a coloring book, markers, etc. I’ve noted that so many kids get these big expensive items and the gift expectations grow higher and higher each year! Parents fight at the store over getting the latest “hot toy/gadget” for their kid! My parents did not normally do this and we didn’t get the trendy hot toy. And ya know, I never remember feeling left out or neglected! I do remember the fun of opening a pile of gifts!! And ya know, I do actually remember getting the “hot toy” once (a talking Raggedy Ann clock. haha!) and being disappointed in it! Yes, disappointed!! The talking clock only did one thing and had no point! I was used to more creative gifts. Which leads to my 2nd thought…There was also an emphasis in my home on practicality. Now I don’t necessarily mean getting a gift of underwear (haha) but gifts that weren’t just one-dimensional, but could be “used”. A card game or markers, instead of a talking Raggedy Ann clock! Creativity was encouraged. Some “gifts” I see at the store are just so pointless and silly… So those are my two cents. Which may be outdated for our modern world… : )

  4. FARM-Africa Says:

    With FARM-Africa PRESENTS, you can give a fun, quirky PRESENT to your lucky chosen person AND help change lives in Africa. Whether you are treating Dad to some virtual banana beer, or buying the kids a FARM-Africa PRESENTS chicken, the best thing is that your donation will help some of eastern Africa’s poorest communities produce enough food to eat and earn a living.

    Visit our website, select from our range of PRESENTS and we will send your loved one a link to a movie, personalised by you – showing them just one of the amazing ways FARM-Africa PRESENTS transform lives in Africa.

    Alternatively, you can send them a photo gift pack, complete with your message – perfect to put under the tree! So go on, do things a little differently this year and get more out of your Christmas gifts!

  5. James Rice Says:

    I just wanted to point out that 30 billion is exactly the amount they are expecting to pay for the “surge” in Afghanistan. End world hunger? No! Kill more Afghans? Yes please.
    Anyways, great post Charity. Maybe we should make a rule that all presents received for this Christmas must be given away by next Christmas. Love you, Charity. See you Friday.

  6. Charity Says:

    Love you, too, James!! and can’t wait to see you! Thanks so much for commenting. Great thoughts and ideas. Didn’t realize that was the exact projected amount of the surge….wow….

    Thanks, everyone for your thoughts. That FARM-Africa post was interesting. I think I’ll check out that website. Interesting idea.

    And hey Cathy–if you figure out how to do it, let me know!!! maybe we can talk about it the next time we do coffee!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: