Intentional Christmas Gifting

This year has been interesting because I'm not only buying for my family this year, but also for my husband's family. In one sense it has been helpful because every made lists (THANK YOU!) but in the other sense, I'm torn between buying something superfluous and buying something a bit more expensive but far more useful and lovely. 

My Christmas list has been a bit spotty myself. What do I need? Nothing. Where would we put item X? Ummmm. I really like Item X but there is no space for it ANYWHERE in the house. Sigh. As I've been purging portions of the house I've become colder towards bringing in more STUFF we don't need and won't be able to take with us to Scotland. 

Scrooge. Grinch. 

No, not really! 

I have analyzed Christmas lists for the most practical, and most useful item on there. And gotten it. Perhaps, it wasn't exactly my taste, but I'm not buying for myself. I also did all my shopping online! I asked myself several questions before I bought anything. 

1. Is this practical? 

2. Is this useful? 

3. Will it last for more than 3 uses or will it be used once and then returned to the closet, never to see the light of day? 

4. Is this within my budget? 

5. Do they really want/need it or is it just a "fluffed" item? 

If the item fell into the gray area, then I put it aside and mulled it over. If the answers were "Yes", then I bought that item as quickly as I could type in the numbers to my credit card. If the answer was no, I moved on. 

While pretty basic, I found that those questions helped me keep the right attitude at Christmas. By shopping online I was able to research buy products from brands that I trusted. I would much rather buy clothing from Everlane than from most other cheap online clothing stores. I looked for small, local businesses instead of large retailers. Etsy once again proved it's worth for reasonable, lovely items. 

While opening gifts is VERY fun and exciting and truly something I look forward to, I wish to impress upon others the importance of giving wisely and not wastefully. So, next time you are unsure about what to give a friend or relative, ask yourself those questions to better gift intentionally. 

Christmas Festivities

Are you in the Christmas spirit yet? I'm totally there and loving every minute of this joyous season!

This year most of it is about really savoring the season of Advent. I made a small Advent wreath and put it up on our bookshelf and every Sunday we light a candle. One more Sunday left before we get to light the big center candle on Christmas! It's small but a subtle reminder of the importance of this season!

Last week we we hunting for our Christmas tree and FINALLY found one that would fit in the corner of our apartment! I've been watching our kitties careful, but so far only three ornaments have gotten broken! Countless ones have been lifted from their piney homes though. We didn't load the tree down with sentimental ornaments- rather we put up sturdy (non-breakable, what a lie!) balls and traditional ornaments that couldn't be broken! I miss our glassy, glittering tree, but I would rather have ornaments in the future instead of sacrificing them now!

Ahhh, Christmas shopping. The painful experience that one must go through just to but a present that has a 50/50 chance of getting returned. This year I'm avoiding the crowds at the mall and stores and buying online. I'm being far more conscientious this year than in previous years and buy what is needed and what will last a while, versus short-term, "fluffy" gifts for people to open under the tree. (More on this tomorrow.)

I've had Christmas music on NON-STOP. You guys. I can't stop!! I'm listening to my favorites, like the Josh Groban Noel, and the Piano Guys Christmas album, but I've also discovered Downton Abbey's Christmas album. It's been on repeat! If you like classic, high-church Christmas music, this album is for YOU! It's glorious. I'm in love.

Lastly, I've been reading through #SheReadsTruth "O, Come Let Us Adore Him" Bible study series. I've been loving every second of it. Those few minutes really make a difference and I love the time reading the study and just focusing on Christ's coming to earth.

What about you? What are some of your Christmassy traditions? :)