The Season of STUFF

As we approach another Holiday Season, I am thankful to see how many people are crying STOP! No more STUFF!

Even limiting 3 toys per child, per Birthday and Christmas, seems like too much at our house.  “No more stuff!” has been my hearts cry for 2 years now, as I worked to convince family & friends that we don’t want more toys, or things. To show the people I get to be in contact with, that there is more to Christmas than a tree so burdened with gifts, that it spills out the sides and screams of excess.

If we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, than what better time of year to do it……

Instead of buying gifts for your office gift exchange, or family Christmas, why not decide to donate to a worthy cause like Compassion International?  Or Samaritans PurseThese ministries are AMAZING and are doing great things for the glory of God!

Meet Bampata John, who has been a part of our family for 10 years now, and Nahabwe Deborah who we adopted maybe 5 years ago?



They are both in Uganda.  We get letters and photos from them, and can easily write them back and send photos via Compassion International.  They make it so easy to sponsor a child and be in communication with them!

  To you, it may just be a good cause, $38 a month.  To these families sponsored, it means food, water, education and clothing or household items, whatever need is greatest.

  We send extra money for Birthdays and Christmas.  With the $20 extra we sent for John’s birthday, guess what Compassion was able to buy him?

A BED.  Who doesn’t have a bed?!

John didn’t.

Bampata John's new bed

Needless to say, it was VERY eye-opening for my older children.

Paxton is 3, and he doesn’t know we’ve sponsored these children for most of their young lives.  But, when Compassion sent out some literature about the staggering need for sponsors, he immediately began to ask about the “sad children”.


He lined these photos up on the desk and looks at them every day.  IMG_2767

  He asked lots of good questions about them, with concern in his big sweet eyes.  I am writing today to say this, it is NOT too early to talk to your toddler about the world and the great need there is for food, water and education in other countries.

  It is not too late to decide to do this instead of gifts this year.  The gift of Sacrifice is a beautiful thing, and one whose blessings you cannot imagine in this lifetime. The gift of Compassion is priceless… feel compassion literally means to suffer with someone.

  The English word “compassion” is derived from two Latin words. The first means “with”; the second means “to suffer.” Taken together, the word “compassion” literally means “to suffer with” someone. It involves not just feeling sympathy for another person’s misfortune but a willingness to respond by taking action on their behalf. In fact, ancient playwrights used a similar Greek word to depict warhorses, chomping at their bits, eager to charge into battle. 
You see, Christian compassion doesn’t stand aloof from someone in pain, feeling sorry for their circumstances, all-the-while remaining detached and uninvolved. It requires us to enter into suffering with those around us. In certain cases, this may mean doing what we can to alleviate someone’s problems. But even when we can’t, we can still actively engage in their pain the way Scripture instructs by weeping with those who weep and struggling alongside those who struggle. 
~Jim Daly

  I hope you will consider making this Christmas Season, a Season of COMPASSION, not a Season of STUFF. 

  I wrote more about Compassion International as a company here in 2010.  And gave you more gift alternatives last year:

$5 Family Gift Exchange

A New Kind of Party

Hugs, T

I hope this video warms your heart and moves you to act…..

One more:


6 thoughts on “The Season of STUFF

  1. What a timely blessing this post was! We were just discussing yesterday in our Sunday school class about this very same idea of what we need, want and how to train ourselves to think of others that truly need and use our generosity towards helping them rather than adding to our stuff with that same amount of money. Thank you!

  2. I love your ideas….just wish I could convince my husband’s side of the family to agree to something like this (i.e. the $5 gift exchange you wrote about last year).
    We only have 1 child and I feel like she has soooo much stuff. I am constantly going through it with her and having her choose items to give to other kids who don’t have as much. I have 4 nieces and nephews and it gets VERY expensive to buy multiple gifts for all of them! I just wish they would be willing to do a name draw type thing so that each person only has to buy 1 gift for 1 person. I have brought this up in the past and they seemed to think I was Scrooge for even mentioning this as a possibility.
    Any suggestions?

    • We simply no longer participate in those exchanges with family, the only problem being our children would not leave with a new gift, which is hard in front of their cousins. Sooo, we told them they had enough toys already, and would be getting 3 great presents from Mom and Dad on Christmas day from us. We talk a lot about giving to others, so it went off without tears. I think they are getting it.
      Anyhow, maybe if you went this extreme, then the following year, they would be more apt to think about your $5 gift idea or at very least, just drawing one name. 🙂

  3. I love this post. I am absolutely no scrooge, but what is it about people that they can’t see the waste in all of this gift giving. It was one thing in a time when people could really come up with something they really “needed” not just wanted. It’s gone way beyond any kind of a need. Let’s find those who really have a necessity.
    When my children were little one of the Christmas traditions was to set up the tree on Christmas Eve and watch the Little House on the Prairie Christmas special. In it Mr. Edwards, the kindly bachelor friend of the Ingalls traveled over blizzard conditions to bring them all a gift. The kids each got a new drinking cup and a peppermint stick, ma got some fabric and pa some tobacco. At least I think that was right. The appreciation for the gifts was immense.
    What are we teaching our children when they have so much excess, while others are doing without the bare necessities? Thanks for sharing your wisdom with others in this article. God bless you and your family always, as you continue to bless other families.

  4. Beautiful and heartwarming idea again for this year..We to stopped joining in the extended family gift exchange back when my kids were young and spent our extra money buying for the local needy and the food banks.

  5. I do think its important to give to others all year and not necessarily just monetarily. A visit to a sick elderly church member, raking someone’s lawn or shoveling their snow, a meal to a new mom and her family, free babysitting for a much needed night out, or just sending a card. I think there are so many people here in our own country who need our help….even right in your own town! Check with your local church for a family in need or look at this webpage:

I adore hearing from you, comment away! :)

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