I love people. I love spending time with people, and I love getting to know people. Sure, sometimes when it's too crowded or too loud (mainly a lot of girl squealing) I get overwhelmed; but at the core of it, I would rather spend time with people than spend time with just myself.
So how does that figure in to Christmas?
Because to me Christmas is so much more than just getting a lot of presents we want (i think of it as a time to celebrate Christ and the friends and family He has blessed me with), when i do get someone a gift, i try to spend extra time looking for a present that reminds me of the gift-receiver. This isn't because I like to prove what a great gift-giver I am; it's because it forces me to put my love and friendship with that person to the forefront of my thoughts.
When someone receives a gift, they don't (i hope) judge it by how much money you spent, or how big it is; they are happier when they can tell you really thought of them and know them. Your attention to that person is often reflected in the gift you get them (which is probably why fruitcake, fruit baskets, and ties don't go over as well as we plan).
This Christmas I have come up with a plan to take the idea, of focusing on your friendship/relationship instead of the gift itself, to a new level.
I have never really liked white elephant gifts, and the whole drawing someone's name and focusing on gifts for them is a neat idea; but what if we were to use the drawing to build community?
This year i propose that everyone gather a group of friends (think a larger group or a home church... or a small church) and have a name drawing.
Everyone draws one name.
Yes, at the end of it you will get that person a small present that reminds you of them, BUT you must get to know the person whose name you have drawn better before you buy them a gift.
When you draw you must decide if you know that person really well already (and want to draw for someone else) because the main idea is to get to know someone better that you only kind of knew before. You can either hang out one on one (like over coffee), or you can hang out in a group and just focus on getting to know that person more (this is in case you feel awkward meeting up with the opposite sex in the one-on-one manner).
Remember, you don't have to make it a very big gift (in fact small gifts might be even more fun of a challenge). The hope is that, since everyone will be drawing one name, you will step into the new year with 2 more friends and an even stronger community.
Let me know what you think, if you'd like to take part, and if you do try this, how it turned out.
happy loving-on-one-another season!