Southern Indiana Writers' Salon met and celebrated the birth of our Savior yesterday. While we munched on delectables and sipped steaming coffee or hot cocoa, we talked about the personal significance of Christmas.
One member whose family has grown quite large through the years--what with children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews--said that her family decided not to buy new gifts this year, but rather to give recycled presents.
"Before you picture us going through dumpsters for just the right gift," she said with a chuckle, "let me tell you what we're doing. Any form of recycling is allowed. It just cannot be a new purchase." She explained that her family had visited Goodwill stores, thrift shops, yard sales, and flea markets; rummaged through their own storage rooms, basements, attics, and closets, repurposed items, and hand-crafted creations in order to come up with gifts for family members. Much love and consideration went into the selection of each present.
One day, her daughter was especially excited about a treasure she had found at a garage sale. "It's a little radio that works like new," the daughter said. "It's in great condition. And I paid two dollars for it!" She checked off one name on her list.
The writer added that, since she sews, many of her gifts will be items that she has altered, embellished, or salvaged from other pieces. Homemade gifts provide tremendous satisfaction to both the giver and the recipient, for whom they may become cherished heirlooms.
A recycled Christmas has so many advantages. For one thing, the little plastic cards that get so many people in trouble can stay tucked away in wallets. Those who give such presents don't have to tremble in fear when they see the mail carrier approaching their mailboxes in January. Further, the gifts are true treasures, selected or created just for the individual.
Remember that the Only Begotten Son of God, Himself Eternal God, was born in a borrowed stable. The shepherds knelt before a borrowed manger that had been repurposed as a cradle.
Have yourself a very merry recyled Christmas!