Hot Chocolate

As much as we hate to admit it, either because we don’t want to seem ungrateful or selfish, many of us have received gifts from people that were actually junk we probably didn’t need or want. Chances are also high that we have run around at the last minute wracking our brains, trying to find that ‘perfect’ gift for a loved one, especially if he’s a middle aged man (dad?), who has ‘everything he needs.’ So you end up buying a silly tie with golf balls on it. Well maybe that scenario is only specific to my family, but I bet you’ve experienced something similar. It occurred to me after watching the Advent Conspiracy Video ( that American’s are spending over $450 billion dollars annually on stupid ties with golf balls on them (metaphorically speaking). We fight traffic, scour shopping malls, and elbow pedestrians all in a feeble attempt find something that simply says, “I love you”. I’m confident we can do better than this…

If we boil it down, the Christmas story, is really a powerful love story that just happens to take place between the God of the universe and the human race. In this season of excessive gift giving, how do we honor that great story by choosing to give differently…by showing people we love them through our words, actions, and time.

Living with such hectic schedules makes time a really precious commodity these days, this often means we spend more time on things that matter less. Shouldn’t it actually be the opposite? Shouldn’t we spend more time with the people we love the most? We schedule time for everything else, so it’s just as important that we are as intentional when it comes to our relationships. While there are so many obligations around this time of year, it would be easy to consider this as just one more thing to add to the list. But, just maybe we will find time to stop, breath, and just enjoy the people who sometimes drive us crazy. At least it will be more memorable than a tie.

Looking for ideas…maybe instead of buying a gift certificate to your mom’s favorite store, why not give her a “certificate” for you to spend a day together doing one of her favorite things? Then take the money you saved and donate it to an organization that is working to change lives for folks in your community or around the world. By taking this rout, you have both accomplished spending quality time with your mom, and taking a small piece of that four hundred and fifty billion and putting it toward something that really matters. Need more ideas and inspiration visit: There you will find links to some resources including gift ideas and info about some organizations that are doing great work in our local and global communities.

For even more ideas check out the Advent Conspiracy Pintrest page:



Dominique Brown is the Service and Justice Coordinator in the CFJ, this season she is looking forward curling up with lots of hot chocolate, watching Christmas Vacation and listening to the NSYNC Christmas album with girlfriends from college…now that’s time well spent.