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  Children's Ministry Today    

Today's Featured Article

Experience is Better Than an Object
                    By: Lisa Akers


Itís mid-December and it seems all our energies and money goes into buying the perfect gift for those special people in our lives. Some people are easy to shop for, but others are a real challenge. I know that I have been struggling with shopping for a few years now. Christmas is always the hardest. For some reason, I seem to be able to find something that works for birthdays and anniversaries. Perhaps itís because those donít all happen at once and in the middle of decorating, parties, and social events!

So this year, I did something different. I have been giving people ďexperiencesĒ rather than ďthings.Ē I gave my parents tickets to a concert theyíve wanted to see. I gave my expectant sister and her husband a coupon for me to bring them dinner one night. My husband gave me a full detailing of my car (thatís been splashed with milk and is full of dog hair). I love getting experiences. They are so much more valuable to me than a thing.

In future years, weíre planning to take the money we might spend on gifts and set it aside for a big family get-together. It might not be at Christmas, but it will be far more valuable than a few pairs of socks and a sweater (unless of course, you knit the socks and sweater yourself). Now, of course we will be giving gifts to the children. After all, Christmas is about children. But, the grown-ups will spend their money on making a wonderful memory.

Iíd encourage you to consider shifting your gifting thoughts. Great gifts can be found just about everywhere. Maybe the best gift is a couple of hours of babysitting so a new mom can get out of the house and get her hair cut. Perhaps itís a certificate for a class tuition that the recipient has wanted to take. What about a house-cleaning for someone whoís been laid up with an injury or illness? The possibilities are endless Ė if you use your imagination and creativity.

Hereís some more great ideas:

-Take a new neighbor to an evening with your friends so she can meet people in the area
-Give your friends a knitting class (or a scrapbooking class, or any other craft class), but donít make it one of the direct sales parties where they are expected to buy something.
-Take someone who canít get out a warm meal and spend some time with them.
-Give certificates for something the person needs Ė grocery cards, gas cards, oil changes, pharmacy cards. That way, they can splurge on something special for themselves.
-Invite your kidís friends over for a play date, and have a special tea for the moms.
-Take your children to the zoo or the park or the pool.

Can you see where Iím going with this? Iíve been talking about commercialism at the holidays for many years now. Itís just getting out of control from where I stand. If youíre feeling like this Christmas thing is just way too hard or just way too expensive, I encourage you to give experience this year. Your friends and family will really appreciate your thoughtfulness and creativity. I promise they wonít receive another gift like it this year!

Article by:  Lisa Akers is the president of Be Still & Knit. Her company teaches women how to find peace and stillness in their lives through handwork. By discovering knit and crochet, women develop a new way to take time for themselves and share the love they have as warm clothing! Find out more about Lisa at www.bestillandknit.com or listen to her podcast at www.peacefulknitter.com.

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