Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On a serious note--Christmas, Slavery, and Poverty (Drawing the Line Series)

Hands down the best blog entry I have read all week. Probably all year. I hadn't heard of Jen Hatmaker until today. You need to read her blog post about the Christmas Conundrum.

She writes about getting Christmas back to the baby in the manger. Less about commercialism and excess and more about celebrating the baby Jesus born in a lowly stable and yet he still managed to be the savior for the world.

Jen's family has been "doing" Santa for awhile and now are, well, not. She's very gracious in her post about how this isn't supposed to be a Santa War and if you want to give gifts from the fat guy, by all means, do it. But it isn't right for her family anymore and they are backing out.

For us, we don't do gifts from Santa. Never have. We talk about him being fictional and just for fun pretend but that the gifts come from mommy and daddy. That said, Santa is not banned in our home. The emphasis surely is not on him, but you'll have to pry my cold, dead hands away from the remote when the movie "Elf" is on.
Not ashamed either to admit that I like the Tim Allen "The Santa Clause" movies, and force my husband to suffer through them every year.

You may choose whatever works for your family. Some families I know of don't do Santa at all and don't you dare watch Elf in their house! Some families let Santa bring ONE gift to each child. Some families have Santa visit Grandma's house. Some leave cookies for the big guy and carrots for the reindeer.
Growing up, we always left cookies out....knowing full well they were for mom and dad. If my kids would like to continue that tradition, well I won't object.
Constant sugar consumption will be key to keeping my energy up for putting together something that comes with directions that you need a doctorate degree to decipher. Must. Keep. Stamina. *Our gifts and budget and how we handled that will be another post in this series.

Jen's post also talks about not purchasing items made from slave labor. Even my non-religious or non-Christian readers can agree here! We, as a society (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Agnostics, Athiests, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat), need to stop buying cheap crap made in countries that imprison their "workers." I'm sorry but paying some child a penny an hour to make my plastic kazoo is not okay.

And I'm not buying anymore plastic kazoos.

Where does poverty fit into all this?

Aside from the fact that many products we purchase were made by people IN poverty, most of us need look no further than our own neighborhood to see the hurting.
Why do Americans feel the need to spend $1,000 on Christmas gifts for their children when the kids next door don't have enough to eat? (Statistics show that 1 in 5 children don't have enough food).

Why do we buy $400 game systems when the elderly lady at church can not pay her electric bill? Is there something wrong with owning a fancy game system or state-of-the-art tv/ipad/kindle? Nope. But we should be willing to examine ourselves and draw the line somewhere.

Your line might be in a different spot than mine. And that's okay. It is just important that we DRAW A LINE. Consciously consider Christmas, poverty, slavery and then make an informed choice on where our family says "enough."

Join me for a dialogue about drawing the line. This is the first post of several more to come during this season. I would love to hear where your family draws the line. Ideas for how to shop for gifts that aren't made by slaves. Ideas for charities that you contribute to. What ways do you celebrate Jesus during this time?

Remember, go check out Jen Hatmaker's post. She's way better at this than I.

linking to world vision's 12 blogs of Christmas;
a little knick knack


  1. I couldn't agree more. I was not brought up to be religious, and still am not, so the way I view Christmas is a bit odd; especially from how my family views it. I am fully against such intense commercialism and advertisement, even more so around Christmas time. I am a DIY kind of girl, and even resort to making my own gifts, but there is just something about our society that wants me to be the biggest consumer whore, just to buy things I am unsure my family members would even want. I'm pretty sure when I have children they will know the truth about Santa. My father think's I'm crazy and always tell me "You believed in Santa and you turned out ok." But the devastation and embarrassment I felt when I found out at school that he was just my parents, still sticks with me. Not to mention I feel like we should fill our children with both magic and fantasy for fun, but also truth and knowledge of life. Anyways, great post!

  2. You have some very valid points here. I think that making Santa the focus of Christmas is what makes things difficult. We are trying to get our kids to realize that Christmas is about Christ and not Santa. They think he's real and while I'm not saying he's not, I'm also not promoting Santa. We just grin and say, "yes, it's fun to think of Santa, but why do we really have Christmas?" I think we'll get to a point very soon where we will tell the kids straight out that Santa is not real, he's just a fun side note to the real meaning of Christmas.

    Great post!


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