|From The Editor|
Christmas Activities, An Editorial –by Richard Bedard
How are we spending Advent and Christmas this season?
In the business of life this time of year, it is so easy to forget exactly what we are celebrating.
We tend to get caught up in decorating, cooking, shopping for gifts, and parties. We are reminded of Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman almost everywhere we look. Images of candy canes and angels and stars also abound. Blinking lights and decorations constantly beg for our attention.
If not this year, why not consider giving alternative gifts next year? Let us also consider spending more time with our children creating crafts, decorations and gifts which remind us of the Christ Child and help teach them the message He gave us.
A donation in any denomination to a worthy charity on behalf of a family member or friend can make an excellent gift. You can simply write out a Christmas Card (or better yet help your children make their own cards) and along with your personal Christmas message, write on the inside that ” a gift of $ (write the denomination) has been made in your name to:(here you write down the name of the charity)”. You can include a story about the charity and the works that it does. This makes a great Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Another good idea is to have a mass said for someone living who is chronicly ill. Some religious orders even offer Christmas Mass cards at which a loved one (or their intentions) will be remembered at a series of masses. A mass card is always well received. Another idea is to involve the family making gifts from scratch. Gifts which they can make with love.
Also giving a gifts purchased from sources which offer a fair wage for those who make products or grow food in third world countries is another great alternative. A gift of imported coffee purchased from a co-op that pays the coffee bean grower a fair price is just one example. The sources for these are available on the internet. www.coopamerica.org is one good source.
Another way of alternative giving is to purchase gifts made by artisans from third world countries. There are charitable organizations which sell such gifts and who return a large portion of the proceeds to the artisan in order to support himself and his family. The remainder goes to further the works of the charitable organization.
For family Christmas activities and crafts, especially those with children, a good source is obtainable from http://www.simpleliving.org/ (ask for free catalog) which is the ‘Alternatives for Simple Living’ home page. Living Simply in solidarity with the world’s poor and disadvantaged is squarely within the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church. All items on their website offer Christ centered and Justice centered themes. You will find countless hours of enjoyable Christmas activities for the whole family.
God created us to be happy, Spirit-filled individuals who look after the needs of our families and our neighbors, and not stressed out, over-spent and weary slobs. Isn’t it time we say no to the “consumer-secular oriented monster” and focus on the true meaning of the season with our families and friends instead? In the process, will we be teaching others to do the same?
Who’s birthday is it anyway?
©Copyright 2004 Richard Bedard and e-Catholic2000.com All rights reserved