One Less Gift

The last few years, in November, my church hands out a flyer regarding a concept called “One Less” (last year it was Advent Conspiracy).

Stressmas
Impersonalmas
Checklistmas
Consumermas
Trafficjamas
Gotta-buy-everyone-a-gift-even-though-I-can’t-afford-it-mas.

This year, let’s try

[Less spending.]
[More relational giving.]
[More resources to help those who need it most.]

They have four suggestions, but also encourage everyone to be as creative as one can be!

** Angel Tree for a child of a prisoner here in Nevada.
** Pick up an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.
** Help buy a clean water well with Living Water
** Give to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada

Other charities you may want to support:

Samaritan’s Purse
World Vision
Compassion International

A few of the ones I like:

Nevada Humane Society.
Veteran’s Guest House in Reno, NV.
Kids Kottage.

Gift Ideas for Relational Giving.

A fun certificate for the gift of your time:

* bring popcorn, gourmet root beer and a classic DVD for a movie night with a friend.
* host a Monday Night Football and make homemade pizzas.
* wrap two copies of a classic book to read together.
* bundle up and take a walk through the Christmas-lit streets.

Your gift of creatively serving:

* babysit for your worn-out sister-in-law.
* yard work for an elderly person.
* road trip for an out-of-town adventure with your child.
* change the oil in a neighbor’s car.
* help your friend build their shed, clean their garage or closets, etc.

A day together doing something someone else cares about:

* take a trip to the batting cages.
* go on a hike, with your camera and your photographer friend, you bring lunch.
* volunteer at their favorite charity.

A gift you made with your kids:

* simple scrapbook of time you’ve spent with the person you’re giving it to.
* photo album of your kids for a far-away family member.
* home-published story, written and illustrated by your kids. The time spent creating it is priceless to the recipient as well as the kids.

Ask “What do they like to do?” and make time to do it with them.

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Advent Conspiracy ~ Nobody Wants a Christmas Worth Forgetting

Pastor Scott Parker of my church, Sparks Christian Fellowship, brought up Advent Conspiracy last Sunday…asking us to spend $10 less on ourselves or family and give the gift of water. “One less gift or you = clean water for one village”.

So when I got home I went online to check it out ~

Advent Conspiracy

Worship Fully ~ It starts and ends with Jesus! This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas.

Spend Less ~ America spends an average of $450 BILLION a year every Christmas. How often have you spent money on a gift for no other reason than obligation? Just consider buying ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas. Just one.

Give More ~ God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. TIME is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found a the mall. Time to MAKE a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving.

Love All ~ When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most.

Rethinking Christmas: Here is a forum for Rethinking Christmas that Advent Conspiracy put together…a community site for you to share your stories and ideas for the season of advent. To participate, contribute your gift ideas, and post questions and comments in the forum. There are lots of ideas from people trying to spend less and give more…and be “green” too!

Now…back to the $10 = clean water that I mentioned above.

Living Water ~ Love Well. Give Wells.

People are dying from the lack of clean water. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in under resourced countries. 1.8 million people die every year from water born illnesses. That includes 3,900 CHILDREN A DAY!

The solution? Drilling a fresh water well…relatively inexpensive, yet permanent solution to this epidemic. $10 will give a child clean water for life. Solving this water problem once and for all will cost about $10 billion…not bad considering American’s spent $450 BILLION on Christmas last year.

Map of Living Water Wells throughout the World.

DONATE to LIVING WATER INTERNATIONAL HERE!

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Here are of some of the local Reno/Sparks charities that I like to give to ~ if you don’t have the money to give (which a lot of us fall into that category now!), give the gift of your time by volunteering!

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Kids Kottage ~ The Washoe County Emergency Child Protection Residential Shelter.

The Reno Rodeo Denim Drive is being held (24 November – 20 December 2008) right now to benefit the Kids Kottage ~ Donate new denim clothing and new socks and underwear to abused, neglected and abandoned infants, children and teens who are in protective custody and foster care.

Kids Kottage is where I’ve decided to donate the quilts that I make throughout the year.

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SPCA of Northern Nevada

I just received an email asking for help with the Giving Tree ~

Greetings!

You are cordially invited, to a month long celebration of our “Annual Holiday Giving Tree.” The Giving Tree offers you an opportunity to help homeless pets by the spirit of giving! Place your donations from our “Wish List” under the “Holiday Giving Tree.”

Items needed are: Friskies wet cat food, Nutro Dog Food, Bleach, Mops and Brooms, Dishwashing Detergent, Paper Towels, Printer Ink Cartridges, Copy Paper, Window Cleaner, Dish Soap, Trash Bags, Soft Dog Toys, Dog Treats.

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Evelyn Mount's Community Outreach Program
You can help Evelyn prepare the donation baskets by donating a frozen turkey, ham, or chicken and what she calls all the fixings…canned vegetables, potatoes, pasta, stuffing and cranberry sauce. You can drop off a contribution at Evelyn Mount’s home, at 2530 Cannan Street. Volunteer to help box up all the donations and give out.

Northern Nevada Food Pantry

St. Vincent's Food Pantry