Christmas Gifts that Help Others

As I make my Christmas list this year I’m asking the Lord to help me be a good steward in my plans, be reasonable about what I write on the list for my kids, and seriously rethink the way I’m going to do things.
This is a really important post.  There are two ideas I wanted to share with you all as we all plan our lists of things to buy:

They have books for all ages, calendars, note cards with Joni’s artwork, music, and a lot more.  All of the local Joni and Friends offices are self supported, meaning they have to raise their own support.  One way I can help them do that is to purchase some of their catalog items directly from a local office and they get a portion of the cost directly in their pocket.  (They are a dollar or two more than CBD, but it’s worth it to me.)  I’m trying to make my list based on what they have to offer so I can support them this way.  I have my eye on several of the children’s products!
IMPORTANT NOTE:  When you look online, please don’t order directly from that link!  No harm in doing that, but if you did it that way, the California office will get that profit, and the Knoxville office could really use your help!  If you make a list of the items you’d like to order, call the Knoxville Office to place your order and you will be helping my local office and the missionary my Sunday School class has adopted!  (The number is at the bottom of the screen.  Tell them I told you about them!) 

Gospel for Asia is a ministry that trains and sends native missionaries to share the good news of Christ with those who have never heard.  Many of their gifts are funded by way of their Christmas Gift Catalog.  But it’s a very different kind of catalog!  Instead of ordering an inanimate object that will arrive in your mailbox in a few days, you can order a goat or a pig for a needy family or missionary in Asia!  (The true meaning of a gift that keeps on giving!)
You could purchase a rickshaw for a man so he can support his family.
For five dollars you could buy a blanket for a child who has none.
For forty dollars you could purchase a winter clothing packet for a missionary who has a need.
For three dollars you can purchase a Bible.
For eleven dollars you can purchase a chicken.
The list goes on and on.
I must warn you, if you’re like me, by the end of the catalog you’ll be utterly finished with Christmas as we know it here in America.  So don’t be offended if I send you a card that says I bought a goat in your name for a family who has a much greater need than anything we will ever know here in America.  And I sure won’t be offended if that’s what you do for me.  PLEASE go look at what you can do for a very small amount of money.  There is a short video there to watch or show your kids too.
If you choose to purchase a gift in another’s honor, Gospel For Asia will even send a Christmas card explaining your gift directly to them or to you so you can personally send it!  As we’re focusing our studies on chidlren’s around the world and praying for all to know Jesus, this has been a neat way to give Jacob an opportunity to make a difference too.
Please join me in helping others this way this year!

Budgeting for Christmas

I can’t believe it’s time to start planning for Christmas again! I know some of you are already finished, but I like doing it as part of the celebration season. One year I was finished by Thanksgiving and I felt like I was missing out!

Anyway, I struggle each year feeling like we do too much for Christmas. It supposedly isn’t about the gifts, but when we’re all together with my East coast family (12 adults and 10 children), that day ends up all about the gifts only because of the sheer number of people! I don’t know how to change that. I also can’t necessarily change it with only my children when there are a lot of us involved. And I don’t want there to be fewer people involved! So many thoughts tumbling around my brain! Another issue of my own is that we usually do have the money to spend on things, so I don’t stop when I should. I love to buy for my kids, b/c we don’t just buy random things through the year very often.

On a message board I’ve seen lots of people do categories for gifts for each child, and then stop when those categories are filled. I like this concept, but am not sure how to make it fit our lifestyle. I don’t like to buy them something they need as a gift. Well, new undies are essential to fill up a stocking, but other than that it seems lame to me! Anyway, this is an example of what I mean.

I’d buy each child something they –
Want:
Need:
Play with:
Read:
Watch:

Things to share –
Watch:
Play with:

I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think it would help me make careful choices in spending. It will also help us start some traditions that steer the kids toward appropriate expectations for Christmas morning.

Thoughts??

My Christmas list

I’ve been mulling this over and thought I’d get it all down in one place with links so it’s easy for Robert (and any of the rest of you who feel giving this year! Ha!). So here are a few of the things I’d like this year…

*Renewed subscription to WORLD magazine (I have 8 free weeks and I’m really enjoying it. $10 cheaper at this site.)
*Cubic Zirconia nickel free earrings (The ones I have make my ears itch. I’ll ask for diamonds another year.)
*An apron (maybe even a cute blue one??)
*Decorative cross to hang on my wall (I love these and I think I’ll start collecting them. I like the filigree ones, the ones with verses, the metal ones. Really, I like all of them, and I don’t think you can have too many crosses in a house!)
*A cozy pullover sweatshirt (Can you have too many of these??)
-that isn’t blue (won’t wear blue with blue jeans) or white (I’ll stain it immediately!)
-and doesn’t have a winter scene on it (I can’t bring myself to wear that in April, KWIM??)
-plain, brand name, sportswear name, I don’t really care… just not Hanes Her Way from WalMart! 🙂
*Fontanini 5 inch Nativity pieces (I only have Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus/Manger)
Amazon list:
*Classics of the Christian Faith CD set (I really want these!)
*Preparing Him for the Other Woman
*The Sacred Romance on CD (Thanks, Little Acorns, for that idea!)

I suppose that’s good. Normally I have so few requests I always know exactly what I’m getting. This year with enough ideas I guess some of it will actually be a surprise!)

Christmas Lists

I decided to put our Christmas lists up here so all my friends know exactly what to buy us!!! Ha! Just kidding. But I decided this would be a good place to put the things I’m watching for and thinking about for the kids. And just in case you’re wondering, they’re not getting all of this!
(**means I already have it.)

For Jacob, I’m looking for some fun track pieces for his wooden Thomas and Friends set. He has gotten really good at building some fantastic tracks lately, and some of these special pieces would make it more fun for him.
Ascending track risers (I’m hoping I can hit Uncle Peter up to make us some of these.)
Wacky track
Adapt a track
**Some blue track Thomas and Friends trains I got awhile ago on a good sale
**Christmas Eve Jammies
**Wooden track Mavis
Wooden track freight cars
**Wooden track emergency vehicles from Target

Jacob & Mattie
**Mindware Marble Run & Add on Set
**Mr. Potato Head jumbo pack
**Dress up box with some costumes in it

Mattie (This list is kind of for birthday and Christmas since they’re so close together. I’ll give her some of this for Christmas and some at her birthday in February.)
Edible chapstick! 🙂
Disney Princess purse (A cheapo one)
**
Fisher Price Tea Set (got this on sale recently!)
**Little People Sweet Sounds Home (Woohoo for Ebay!!)
OR kitchen/dishes/food (Fisher Price Grow with me Kitchen)
Crocs Jibbitz (decorations for her beloved Crocs)
**A princess book
A wooden peg puzzle farm animal mother/baby shapes

**Christmas Eve Jammies
Homemade “Bag of Buckles” (Because she LOVES to buckle and unbuckle things!)
Sunglasses
Small Stuffed kitty cat (She LOVES cats and dogs and plays with her little stuffed doggie all the time.)

So, if anyone sees a great deal on any of this stuff, let me know (ESPECIALLY the Thomas stuff)!!