Hey friends, the Christmas season is well underway, and whether you like it or not, it’s happening and the rush of the season is already making it’s way into your space. Well to be honest, I know the malls were already ready a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t! So I refuse to even think of it. Plus, life was still in full swing for me with work, so it was kind of easy to disregard it. But, I recently went to post some of my Grace and Rest; Affirmation and Prayer card sets off to some beautiful customers, and my local postie was reminding me of the looming Christmas season, and the cut off date for posting. So, thank you my local postie family for that reminder.
And so after a heavy weekend on team with a conference, I fell sick! My body was obviously feeling challenged, and rightly so after a few heavy months with work, running workshops, speaking events etc. But here I am now, feeling a little better than I was two days ago so I thought why not share my thoughts on the overwhelm of the season because I bet I am not the only one! This week while I was resting was also a good time to reflect on my year, and more so my recent involvememt with The Justice Conference. I have been working with the conference team for the last five months, and last weekend was amazing in so many ways. (I will share more on my takewaway from the conference in another post). But the one thing that I have been feeling burdened about is how I can play my part as a consumer this season, keeping in mind the call to play our roles in preserving our environment and at the same time playing our part in fighting for justice for the developing nations where people are suffering and dying because of the irresponsible act of giant corporations and the rubbish that is produced from single use plastic products.
We may feel far removed from the problem, but that is where the bigger problem lies. We should never feel that way; because living our lives in a more responsible and intentional way will have a ripple effect, and our voices through changed behaviour will send a message to these big companies to start doing something. Justice comes because we give something priority and we do something to move the needle in a positive direction.
Now that I have gone all passionate about this….let me share my thoughts on how you can be more intentional this season!
Let’s talk about gifting!
If you are a mum, you’ve probably already been reminded multiple times of the gifts your kids want! And you probably also see the end of school term on the calendar, so there are teachers gifts, thank you gifts for family and friends and not to forget the work Christmas parties!
So how can you be intentional with your gifting?
Ok, stay with me here. Why am I asking you to reflect? Well, this is why…The malls have got their decorations out, Christmas songs playing happily to bring the season in, lights and smells of Christmas in the air. AND THE SALE signs are out! The idea of taking some time to reflect is for you to be still with Him, to allow Him to speak into your heart of what this season means for you. And if you need some further guidance, here are some questions that can help you with your time of reflection…have a conversation with you friend, Jesus.
- What does Christmas mean for me?
- How can I use this Christmas season to bless others around me?
- How can I share the meaning of Christmas with those around me?
- What are some boundaries I need to put in place this Christmas season? (for example; financial boundries, commitment boundries, family boundries)
2. Make a BLESSING LIST!
If you are walking around the malls and feeling like you’ve been walking in circles and not sure of who and what you are buying? Then, STOP. Get a paper and pen. Or open up your ‘notes’ section on your phone. Now, list down the names of people you would like to bless this season. Next to their names, write down three things they value as a person; what they like to do, places they like to visit, what do they place value or importance to in their lives. And next to that in the third column, write down a budget.
3. Be Intentional with OPTIONS
Now that you’ve got your Blessing List, and you’ve put down their values and a budget, start exploring your options. The idea is to use your list and their values to come up with a gift idea that is going to bless them.
If you have already noticed, I have used the term blessing instead of gifting. And personally, I feel this season is a great time to bless someone with a gift/item/or experience. And replacing the word gifting for the word blessing simply takes away the need for it to be of monetary significance. Instead, place value on the fact that the exchange is a gesture to let the other person know that they are valued by you.
This is where you use your imagination and responsibilities! Think about supporting small business, businesses that support and/or are ethical is their production, think organisations that are giving back and building a community.
Use this as a guide if you need to…
- Is this something practical?
- Is this going to speak life into their hearts?
- What does he/she need in this season of life that can help uplift, empower and reduce the load of life on them this season?
These questions are particularly useful when you’re thinking of someone who already ‘has it all’.
Christmas as we know can be a time of impulsive spending, and many a times gifting can feel like a ‘must do’ rather than an act of gratitude towards someone. Consumerism and waste is at one of its highest at this time of the year, and let’s be honest, as easy as it can be to buy a mug or another perfume for that special someone, perhaps we need to ask this question; am I buying this gift just for the sake of buying? (I have nothing against a mug or a perfume! I have been one to ask for a perfume from my husband when I needed one, so I do love myself a perfume. But seriously consider the need for another ‘must get’ gift before you get it).
4. Let it BE KNOWN
Now changing your giving habits can be a little challenging especially when there might be expectations. Am sure it would be awkward if you showed up to the family lunch, and there are expectations that gifts are exchanged after lunch! Yup, AWKWARD! But, hey you have a month now. Let it BE KNOWN! Let your family and friends know that you are not expecting gifts, and that your habits have changed this season. You can share why you might have changed it; maybe you are trying to be less wasteful, or simply that you are trying to be more intentional about the season and the reason of Christmas in general. Don’t be too hard on yourself. People change and so do their values and priorities. Just let others know and take that pressure off yourself.
5. Think PACKAGING
Lastly, if you’ve decided to change your habits this season, you’ve probably already done the work and come to a place of self realisation of what the season means for you and how you want to impact this season and others around you. So, think of this season intentionally.
- How can you package the item in a way that is more sustainable to the planet? Think packaging material that can be recycled; kraft paper, pre loved boxes, preloved jars.
- Think reusable wrapping; wrapping in tea towels, in pre loved scarf or fabric from a garment not used anymore
- A gift that keeps on giving; think of useful gifts through different charity organisations – education, skills, farm animals etc in developing countries. Need some ideas? Check out TEAR for some amazing ways you can bless your loved ones with a gift that keeps on giving. Imagine their faces when they know that gift is blessing not just one person but an entire community.
- Resources that speak life into others; not just for one day, but for an entire season and for many years to come. Check out my Grace and Rest; Affirmation and Prayer Card Set.
Now, let’s talk memories!
The end of the year always bring with a mix of feelings. Often we find ourselves crawling to the finish line, especially if you’ve had a busy year, or a difficult one.
With holidays around the corner, often work slows down and school shut for the rest of the year, there is no better time to start building the memory bank. I remember as kids, we use to go away for a few days as a fmily over Christmas, and it wasn’t the gifts that I remember so much, but it was the time I went roller skating with dad and to the beach with my cousins! And yes, roller skating was a thing!
Some families go away camping, some on big holidays, some on overnight stays, some play tourist in their own cities, It doesn’t matter how you do it, but these moments are adding to your memory bank, building bonds and relationships and are invaluable investments in our lives. Use this time, be intentional about this season and make it a priority to make new memories!
Let’s talk about our time!
Time time time. Many of us feel shortchanged for time and wish there was more of it. But it doenst have to be. We all get the same twenty four hours, we just need to be better at using it. This season will give you some much needed time hopefully, but think about how you can use this time intentionally so that when January comes around, and it will, you are feeling rested, refreshed and ready for 2020!
Some questions to help you think about your time and how to use it more intentionally:
- What are some things you have wanted to do through the year, but haven’t had the time to? Maybe lazy morning strolls, or learning a new skill? Now is that time.
- Who have you been meaning to catch up with but haven’t had the rime to? Now is the time.
- Rest rest rest! Now is the time.
Let’s talk about being intentional about our spending!
As mentioned earlier, the malls are in full swing, and SALE signs everywhere. And shopping the sales are always a good idea, anyway and anywhere we can save is always great. But, the danger is when we aren’t aware of our limitations, budgets and our needs. Unfortunately this is an all too familiar situation, and often we feel overwhelmed by the amount that we have shopped and accumulated impulsively through the season.
The only way to not get there is to be intentional about our spending and purchasing this season.
And if you are looking for a gift for a special woman in your life? My Grace and Rest; Affirmation and Prayer Card set might just be something you are looking for. Beautiful designed, this 18 pack card will speak life into your life. Can be used as a daily devotional tool, displayed in frames or as conversation starters in small groups, these cards are filled with Gods word, answering difficult questions we often ask as women. With space to journal your personal prayers, give this beautiful set to uplift and empower another woman or yourself this season.
* Each set comes with four fridge magnets and a gift tag. Flat rate shipping for Australia.
Purchase it here.
So there it is! My thoughts on how you can be intentional this season/end of year.
I would love to know what your thoughts are and if you have any other ideas to share, leave me a comment or let me know on social media!
Disclaimer, this post is in no way sponsored, and all my thoughts and what I share here are what I personally think and feel. And I am not a Christmas Grinch too! (just so you know, I love Christmas!)
Have a blessed season, cheering you on!