By Jody Kerzman
What’s on your wish list this Christmas? It’s easy to let those lists get out of hand – many of us end up spending more money than we planned, or buying someone a gift just for the sake of buying something. But this year, we challenge you to shop with purpose, do something to help others, and focus on giving, rather than receiving. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Limit your purchases
Christmas shopping has taken on new meaning for Jana Wisthoff in recent years. Gone are the days of buying her children every single thing on their list. Instead, Jana limits her purchases: each child receives just three gifts from their parents.
“We buy them something they want, something they need, and something to help them grow spiritually, like a Christian cd or a book,” explains Jana. “Sometimes what they need is a new pair of jeans. It’s not a super glamorous gift, but it’s a gift.”
It has changed the way she shops.
“It’s made shopping easier. I don’t have as much to buy, and I enjoy shopping more because I’m putting much more thought into what I’m buying for my kids,” she adds. “It sounds cheap, but it really has eliminated my stress and the kids are fine. I think before, when we bought them endless gifts, they really weren’t excited about any of them, because they just had too many gifts. Now, they appreciate the few gifts they do get to open. And it’s made Christmas more about family and being together, which is what I think the holiday should really be about anyway.”
“When I learned how many children were affected by abuse in our state, and as I learned that many kids don’t even have something as basic as a pair of pajamas, as a mom, I panicked,” recalls Pebbles Thompson, Project Ignite Light founder. “I couldn’t stand that. I knew I had to do something to help.”
And so, Project Ignite Light was born. Based in Rogers, North Dakota, the organization provides a “Bag of Hope” to children who have been seen for abuse or neglect at the state’s advocacy centers. Each bag includes a fleece tie blanket, pajamas, socks, underwear, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as other necessities. The organization collects donations of new two-piece pajamas and fleece tie blankets year round, but Pebbles says this time of year is a great time to start a new family tradition.
“We have families who purchase pajamas for a family member to donate to our organization. We have families who get together and make fleece tie blankets to donate. It’s a great way to spend time together,” says Pebbles. “And, our social media campaign is a way to challenge other people to donate to our cause.”
The party starts November 24 and runs through December 31. You can join at any time. Simply make a donation online to Project Ignite Light (www. ignitelight.org), take a photo of yourself wearing your favorite pajamas, and make it your profile picture on Facebook and/or Instagram with this caption:
“I’m wearing my favorite PJs with the purpose of helping hurting children of abuse through Project Ignite Light! I will be making a donation to Project Ignite Light (www.ignitelight.org) and I invite (tag friends) to the party! #projectpjparty.”
How will you make this Christmas more about giving than receiving? Share your traditions (new or old) on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/inspiredwoman.