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December 14, 2009

Making a List, and Checking it Twice—A List of Traditions, That Is

Christmas doesn’t have to be complicated. A few meaningful traditions can bring a family together in powerful ways. Why not take some time with your family and think about traditions that have been important to your family. Maybe you have a tradition of reading the Christmas story from Luke’s gospel before your Christmas Eve family meal. Perhaps you watch It’s a Wonderful Life together or A Christmas Carol. The things that mean the most are often the simplest. Click here for “Christmas Traditions: Unearthing the origins of Yuletide Customs,” by Ted Olson from Christian History magazine.

And Another List of 10 Traditions…

…As long as we’re making lists, be sure to visit One Green Generation and look at Melinda’s entry from last year about her family traditions that have held up across time and space — well, except perhaps the creamed eggs! You’ll also find her suggestions for frugal and fun celebrations including attending worship together, volunteering, redistributing wealth, and playing games. Click here for 10 Simple, Frugal and Fun Holiday Traditions.

Ideas for Teaching Children about Giving at Christmas

All too often, Christmas means “getting” rather than “giving” for the children in our lives. From making a list for Santa to looking in eager anticipation at the growing mound of colorful presents under the tree, the focus can easily become stuck on “me” rather than “we.” Here’s a short list of good ideas to help children focus on giving at Christmas. Click here for “Christmas: Give the Gift of Giving” by Denise Oliveri.

December 7, 2009

Ideas for a Simple Christmas

Check out the Simple Christmas website created by First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, Missouri. You’ll find everything from budgeting tools to suggestions on how to “reduce and reallocate” holiday spending habits. You’ll also find helpful links, ideas for working with children, and some fine book recommendations. Click here for Simple Christmas from First Baptist Church.

Easy, Inexpensive Gift Ideas

Here’s a website chock-full of ideas for homemade gifts, including candles, baking mixes, scented paper, and decorations. Not only will you find some great gift ideas, but you’ll also create space and time for family activities and shared experience. You’ll even find some great ideas for streamlining your Christmas dinner. Click here for GreenSense—A Simple Christmas.

November 30, 2009

Celebrating the Sustainable Holiday

Check out Katy Wolk-Stanley’s ideas for celebrating a sustainable holiday at her blog The Non-Consumer Advocate. This post is taken from a talk she gave in Vancouver, Washington, entitled “Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice: Sustainable Holidays.” You’re sure to find some good tips to incorporate that will allow you not only to practice good stewardship, but also to reduce stress and give the gift of presence. While you’re there check out some of her other good ideas. Click here for “Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice: Sustainable Holidays,” from the non-consumer advocate.

Buy Nothing Christmas '09

Even if the idea of a “buy nothing” Christmas seems too far-fetched for you, you’ll want to peruse the Buy Nothing Christmas website for some great ideas for alternative gifts. You’ll find ideas that almost anyone can put together for little or no money that are infused with meaning and goodwill. Click here to view the list of ideas. Buy Nothing Christmas was started by Canadian Mennonites, but many others are catching on. You’ll also find a youth group study kit, downloadable music, and downloadable gift certificates for gifts of presence and time. Click here for a host of buy nothing Christmas ideas.

November 23, 2009

Advent in a Nutshell: Create Your Own Advent Calendar

Instead of buying a cardboard, plastic, and chocolate over-packaged throw-away Advent Calendar this year, try making one from repurposed and recycled items. In this version from the Mother Nature Network, empty walnut shells, found ribbon, paper scraps, string, and glue are reworked into a personal and memorable gift and experience. Click here to see how easy it is to start a new tradition without spending or contributing to the flow of new “stuff.”

Make Your Own Repurposed and Recycled Ornaments

Here are a few ideas for making your own Christmas ornaments that are suitable for a family fun night, a craft party, or a Christian education activity for the Advent season. Using simple materials such as coffee can lids, bottle tops, paper bags, and aluminum cans, you can create unique and simple decorations and create memories at the same time. Click here for DIY Christmas tree ornaments from the Mother Nature Network.

From Christmas Cards to Epiphany Star

Wondering what to do with all those extra Christmas cards? How about turning them into a “star” for Epiphany? This is a great craft idea that could be used in the sanctuary if made by Sunday school classes, or crafted at home as part of a family night. Not only will it give you one more chance to enjoy the cards and think about the loved ones who sent them to you, but you’ll also be creating something meaningful and being a good steward of resources. Click here for instructions on how to make a Christmas card star from crafter and blogger Jenny Harada.


      Copyright 2009 Stewardship of Life Institute