Creative Christmas Shopping

4 12 2009

As Christians we know what this season is really all about. Advent is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being born into the world and bringing with him the Kingdom of God which is good news to the poor and “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14 and Luke 4:18). As such, Christmas is not about shopping and Christmas lights and running around. It is the time to celebrate the new creation that has been born into our world with joy. It’s the time to celebrate not just presents but presence; presence with the people we love, with the people in need whom God loves, and presence with God. Gift-giving is just part of that celebration, it’s not what the celebration is all about.

Since we know this and since we know who this Jesus is and what he is all about, it’s the perfect time for us to be creative in our gift-giving so that our shopping does not consume us as we consume more and more and so that our gift-giving might be a reflection of God’s good news to the poor rather than the opposite thereof. What do I mean? Well, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements which tell us we need more and more, thus the more we get, the more we want and we end up becoming consumption machines. Also, due to the fierce competition in the market and the need to give the best bargain, violations in human rights and the ramped exploitation of workers have become a reality across the globe. Therefore our consumption and all our shopping can actually be bad news to the poor and bad news for us unless we get creative.

This creativity doesn’t just mean making things… I know if I were to make christmas gifts, they’d be little more advanced than a macaroni necklace. You can be creative simply in the way you shop; taking the time to think about where the gifts you’re buying are coming from. If you’re creative, your shopping and purchasing can actually be good news to the poor and can help alleviate suffering around the world. This is a double gift–a gift to a loved one and a gift to the poor. One of the best ways to give this double gift, short of traveling to the places where people are trying to make a living on what they’re making and selling, is to buy Fair Trade. Fare Trade helps to give disadvantaged people around the word the opportunity to work for livable wages. It helps get the excessive wealth of people like us down to the excessive poverty of people like them, thus solving two problems: the problem of our vain and machine like consumption and the problem of their need and poverty. Buying fair trade opens the possibility for people to escape injustices like prostitution and even slavery.

A great place to shop fair trade online is Trade as One.com. Trade as one is a website which brings together the goods produced by people from around the world working for fair wages. They sell everything from toys, to purses, to chocolate. They make it easy to shop fair trade online.

Another great place where you can actually shop locally and support a Ramona business is Ramona Family Naturals located at 642 Main Street. They have some wonderful fair trade gift items, soaps, shampoo, and candles. Just ask for fair trade items.

Be creative in your shopping this year but remember that there is no present like the gift of presence. Spending time to celebrate God’s love is the best way to be in the Christmas spirit.

Some more great websites:
Fair Trade Jewelry
Anti-Body

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