We are all busy preparing for the holidays, for me that means Christmas lists and carefully planning the season so that I don’t overdo it too much. Because of my health, it is so important to prioritize how I spend my time. This only increases in importance when we enter busy seasons. (A little overdoing is par for the course. My goal is not to run out of energy and have a complete breakdown.)
Along with scheduling and planning, I have some shopping to do. We have a strict limit for gifts whether for Christmas or birthday. We want it to be enough to have a few gifts, but not so much that we will get pulled into the sensational items of the season. Budgeting is key, but we also want those gifts to reflect our values.
The source of the gift is important. I care about slavery and exploited workers. I care about the environment and want to be a good steward of my resources. How do I hang on to those core values when it is so easy to walk into a convenience mega store and buy the first five cheap gifts I come across?
Also high on my priority list is spending time with my family. My kids are growing and it is so important for me to spend time with them so that they know I love them. I need to impress on them just how important they are to me. It is hard to do that when meetings, events, and appointments fill every free evening and Saturday. How do I honor my family when my schedule is packed to overflowing?
I wrote a question to help me examine my choices this season, as I shop or plan my schedule, so that I don’t walk away with a holiday guilt hangover. It is too tempting to make the quick choice, the easy choice instead of the right choice–the one that reflects my values.
Here is the question I use: Does this reflect my heart?
Before I buy, does this reflect my heart?
Before I schedule, does this reflect my heart?
Is this gift or purchase necessary, is it ethically sourced, how far did it travel?
Is this event or appointment vital for me to attend, will I be missed, does it help me make a difference?
One thing we did this year as a family was drive to a fair trade store and shop together. We have a budget and allocated about half of the budget for each person to gifts from this store. It helped us to spend time together away from home and distractions. Shopping this way also guaranteed that the items we purchased were in line with our core values.
Now, I can tell you that I am not perfect. I am still learning and it takes a lot of effort and intentionality to remind myself at every intersection to stick to my priorities. I am a people pleaser, and it is hard to say no! I also don’t relish shopping, so the temptation is definitely there to compromise.
But my heart’s cry cannot be ignored for long. If I don’t listen now, I will be hearing from my hurting heart later!
Staying true to my values at Christmas.