At Bible study today, we had ourselves a little shopping party. I suggest you get your friends, coworkers, etc. together to do this. It was so much fun!
Everyone in our group looked through our own houses for things in good condition that we didn't need, no longer wanted, things that we bought as gift ideas and never gifted, items that we received that we keep dusting around but wouldn't necessarily miss, or never used to bring in as merchandise. There were about 28 of us bringing our "junk" to showcase. We spread it all out on tables and browsed until we each got a good look at the inventory.
Some items we had today: photo albums, pretty holiday items and plate sets, kids' clothes, kids' toys (clean with all applicable parts), purses, home decor, picture frames, kitchen gadgets, a sink faucet, you name it! I brought: Creative Memories scrapbook/pages, photo paper, print-your-own picture postage stamps, and a couple of never used kids' toys.
ONE RULE: You DO NOT have to bring anything to shop. With this large of a group, there were plenty of things to choose from and no one left empty-handed.
Procedure: Once everyone gets there and has a chance to lay out their stuff, we form a line and everyone goes through and picks one item. We follow the line format until the stuff is gone. There really was no pushing or shoving. We ARE Christian women!
FINAL NOTE: Please know that whatever you bring that doesn't end up getting swapped you must take home with you. One girl in our group today graciously offered to take all the "leftovers" to Goodwill.
I got a couple of "Christmas" presents for myself, while others shopped for loved ones and children. I'm considering organizing a "shopping" party with my friends who aren't in Mom's Club.
We also discussed more traditions today:
-Whatever you do once, can become a tradition. If you begin your families' holiday time with an elaborate meal and formal routines, it will become expected. Our pastor's wife just made chili on Christmas eve early on, and the kids protested when the next year she didn't plan on doing the same thing. Traditions don't have to be "fancy".
-The whole family sleeping "under" the tree on the night you decorate it. Pull out sleeping bags and pillows, light a fire and snore away with the tree lights aglow.
-Present an award on Christmas eve to a family member for good deeds throughout the year. Make a plaque with room for engraving "winners" names on it. The "Loving God, Loving Others" award. I'm picturing a full-blown awards ceremony with superlatives of the silly sort!
-Thanksgiving: Each family member has 3 kernels of corn at place setting at dinner. Each person tells 3 things he is thankful for.
-Reading the Christmas story: Reader leaves out words for the kids to fill in. For example, "Jesus" to start with. As the kids get older and more familiar with the story each year, leave larger sections out for them to fill in the blanks. By the time they graduate high school, they should be able to recite the whole thing!
-Another great nativity idea: Along with leaving baby Jesus out until Christmas morning, have Mary and Joseph "march" daily through December to the manger, so kids can appreciate the long journey they endured to have Christ's perfect birth.
-Create ornaments for each of the "fruits of the spirit" and decorate a small tree with them.
-Wrap kids' bedroom doors like a present. Remember your teachers in school doing this? Then have the kids decorate the doors, writing all the "gifts" they already have received from God.
Well, I've been making our list. Now I've got to get the man to check it twice.
Next week we will be discussing blessings. And two weeks from now, we will stuff our faces with a brunch and swap our favorite holiday recipes. Yum!