Turn Christmas Upside Down

 Every year on the first day of Advent, December 1st, I watch a video from Advent Conspiracy as a way to prepare my heart for the Christmas Season.

I encourage you to watch it {turn the volume on for full impact}
It is such a good reminder to me as the Advent Season begins.

 When I first watched an Advent Conspiracy video 5 years ago, it struck a cord and made me re-think Christmas.
Do I think gifts & Christmas gifts are bad? No.
 But, I have changed the way I view gift giving.
The amount of money Americans spend on Christmas makes me sick to my stomach.
Black Friday....don't even get me started.

In years past, we used to exchange gifts with all my nieces & nephews.
It was ridiculous buying & exchanging gifts with all 8 kids.
My kids don't need that many presents & neither do their cousins.
So,  a few years ago, we changed how we did Christmas. Each kid would pull a name & get a gift for 1 cousin. Much more reasonable than getting gifts for 8 cousins.

Several years ago, my sisters & I decided to stop giving each other gifts.
We don't need anymore "Stuff"
Now we do something fun together.
This year, we are getting tickets to see Jersey Boys with my mom and having a girls day in San Francisco.
Spending time together is much more fun than getting a random sweater or purse.

Last year, I told my sisters to NOT give my girls Christmas presents.
Instead, I told them to take my girls on dates so they could have one on one time with them for a few hours.
Spending time with their Aunties is much better than a random toy.

I encourage you to watch the video & see how you can turn your Christmas upside down.

Organizations that we support & have been a part of & so can you:
Adopt a Family, Feed the homeless,
Sponsor a child through
Compassion International or World Vision
Donate money to help build wells with charity:water,
Heifer Project {donate an animal to give a family a source of food for a year. A few years ago, one of my students donated a goat in my name. Best Christmas present from a student. EVER}.
 Make a Blessed to Bless Bag,
 Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child,
 Donate cans to a Food Bank.

Do Something.
Spend Less. Give More.

It's not about the gifts. It's about the birth of Christ.

Make this CHRISTmas meaningful.


  1. Loved this. Thanks for keepin' it real and encouraging others to think twice before inundating themselves and others with more stuff!
    I've always loved the idea of having quality time together/dates rather than more toys/stuff.
    Right now my kids are the only grand children on BOTH sides so it goes without saying that they are completely spoiled. This will be our 2nd Christmas in Africa apart from family so I'm enjoying not having an overwhelming amount of gifts.
    But next year we'll be back and I'm preparing myself with some suggestions and alternatives to so much stuff!

  2. All very well said and SO true! My family does Hanukkah and Christmas. Most of our families (cousins, etc.) are split (as are we) with both holidays, which means buying 8 gifts for Hanukkah and then a Christmas gift for the same children -- yikes. My husband and I decided this year to do Christmas and Hanukkah with HEART. Necessary things, small things. For Hanukkah, my son is getting a new art supply each night -- crayons, glue, a coloring book, etc. Each item simply cost $1 or less, and is something he can actually USE each and every day! We don't need another plastic toy anywhere. We're getting people things they need this year (my husband needs dress socks for work. My best friend is involved in animal rescue -- instead of a gift, I took my toddler to the animal shelter and we fed and cared for the animals there and documented it through pictures as her gift). It's been SUCH a great holiday season for it. My heart feels lighter!

  3. Thank you for reminding us about the real heart of Christmas. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing that Mel, awesome..

  5. My small group did the study on these videos. It also struck a cord with us. We still haven't figured out what to do about gifts for our son. Who by the way is 6 years old and isn't asking for anything.

  6. awesome video - thanks for sharing. agree 100% Merry Christmas Season. :)


  7. We, too, love Advent Conspiracy and make Christmas more about Presence than Presents.

    I'd prefer spending time with family than rushing around finding "the perfect gift" that will be tossed aside with the wrapping paper.

    Also, I've seen a trend in the 3 gifts philosophy for children and I think it's just brilliant. (based on the gifts Jesus received from the Wise Men.). It brings the focus back onto what matters and what CHRISTmas truly means.

    Thank You for hi lighting ways to give back. As a Compassion International Advocate, it means a lot :)

  8. Love this, Mel! I have been convicted of this also and am fighting the battle of getting family on board. But I think its completely true. My kids get so overwhelmed that they don't even know what to play with, there is so much. And so many have nothing. We are attempting to tone it WAY down this Christmas. Thanks for the validation today for me to continue urging my family to consider this perspective. Paige

  9. We've cut way, way back and amped up our giving (to those in NEED) big time!

    But don't get me started on the "don't get me started with Black Friday...." people ;)

  10. We have done a stocking for "Jesus" and we put any left over change in it and we agree to match our biggest purchase of year and put in there, our friends have caught on & we have found money in there before and no one has owned up to it, at the end of the year we donate what's in it to a different charity in Jesus' name. and on that note, to be totally materialistic, you have the joy letters from Target...I want

  11. Your blog is becoming one of my absolute favorites to follow. My husband and I recently started sponsoring a child through Children's Hope Chest and it's one of my favorite decisions yet. Spending TIME rather than MONEY for Christmas with family and friends is so much better than any gift. Thank you for this reminder.



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