Christmas is a time when we’re able to celebrate God's generosity with a much wider group of people than usual. Giving presents and sharing meals can be an important, but sometimes expensive, part of that.
Many of us are grappling with how we do all the usual Christmas festivities on a budget, whilst still supporting the causes we love. With this in mind, here are five budget-friendly ideas to help you remain generous in your Christmas giving while staying within your means.
1. The spending plan
Many of us are operating on tighter spending plans this year so perhaps the first thing you can look at is your Christmas budget. You could start by reviewing what you are going to spend (or have spent already) on Christmas and set aside/match 10% of that amount for Christmas giving to help support a cause that you love.
2. The food and drink
Celebrations often centre around the dinner table and this is definitely true for Christmas. For every pound you spend on food and drink for Christmas, why not donate an appropriate percentage to buy items for your local foodbank?
If you would like to give to something outside of your local community, you could consider giving to A21. Their annual Christmas project is bringing hope to survivors of human trafficking. You can help A21 in their mission to end slavery everywhere by giving with Stewardship. Gifts made by Monday 11 December will help to provide Christmas hampers of hope, but gifts are welcome throughout the year.
3. The tree and decorations
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree, beautifully lit up and decorated with baubles. But how about buying a slightly smaller tree this year?
Alternatively you might consider buying a Christmas decoration from Oxfam where part of the proceeds go to making a brighter future for those in need at Christmas and all year round.
4. The kids
A lot of our Christmas memories will no doubt be linked to having been children ourselves and receiving awesome gifts. It’s no wonder then that we love to give gifts to the children in our lives to make it special for them too. So what about this year, for every £1 you spend on gifts for the children, you give 10% to a children’s charity like Samaritan’s Purse?
Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has delivered more than 209 million Christmas Shoebox gifts. That's 209 million gifts of hope and 209 million smiles on children's faces, not to mention the smiles this brings to their loved ones.
5. The gifts
Let’s be honest: presents are not just for the kids. Many of us are able to give because we have a regular income that enables us to plan and budget.
Likewise, many charities depend on regular donations from their supporters and that in turn helps the people they serve to depend on them.
Christmas is a great time to respond to charity appeals with one-off gifts but, this year why not consider making them regular?
We hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy this special time of Christian celebration, especially your Christmas giving. Please remember the most important thing about giving is that it should be joyful. The Bible says ‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’ 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
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