Today while thinking about some people that had mentioned that they would really like to get certian books from the Family Christian Book Store but couldn't really afford it, I thought, "how can we help them?"
But another question popped into my head, "Can we afford to help them? How much giving is too much?" We have been giving to a lot of areas and we need to make sure we do so with in our means."
Silly me, there I go thinking again. We can never give too much. Jehovah Jireh will always provide. So some simple ideas came to mind as to how to accomplish helping them along with gift giving and still live with in our means.
#1: For those that are wanting to get books, give them a gift card to get the things they want. If you are a member of one of those places and have coupons, give them a coupon to use as well. You are allowing them to grow stronger in the Lord by getting those much sought after books. If you know the exact book they want, then get it for them.
#2: Another solution outside of giving with getting books to those that can't afford them; I'm going to make a list of all our books and loan them out. I am going to ask for them back so that anyone that wants to read them they will get circulated around and so that hubs and I can still read the ones we have not been able to get to yet. Why not share what you have and let more people gain from them. Again, this is outside of gift giving, but you are still giving to those in need in another sense.
#3: Now this one I know is going to be stepping on some toes, but it is true and to the point.
When giving to someone of low to middle incomes, give them a gift that is going to really stretch for them. Keep in mind that they can not go to expensive places. This thought came after hearing some that only shop at "the good places" stated they would never set foot in a Walmart or Savers or Marshalls etc just to name a few. I thought, wow! you are missing out on some great deals! My heart went out to them, especially since I knew that they were having financial struggles.
I thought of food and how some would love to have a little more and would love to have a nice holiday meal. So why not give them a gift certificate to a local savings grocery store? For instance here we have Winco and Walmart which are very competive in their pricing and try to offer their customers low cost items. We also have the high end grocery stores such as Alberston's and Fred Meyers. Now I know they often offer better looking/quality items, but they are pricey and those on low-middle incomes often can not afford those prices.
So instead of giving them a gift card to a high end store which they most likely will feel uncomfortable going into and not be able to purchase much, give them a card for a low end place where they can get more for the amount. They will greatly appreciate it, believe me. I know as I have lived the low income aspect and am middle class. I know how much it helps to live well within our means. This is what has made it possible for us to give more and more.
Now some of you may say, well those that can't afford to go to the high end places would surely appreciate the ability to do so. Why this may be true to some extent, it is still keeping them from getting more for the amount of the gift. Why not let them get more out of it. And it spares them that uncomfortableness of, "Gosh, I just don't feel right paying this for that item." Save them the stress. Give them a practical gift that they can truly enjoy.
By the way, I'm talking from experience and through the eyes and thoughts of many. Think about the person, about their life style and then think about what would make a good gift. No matter what, a person receiving will be gracious and it isn't with in them to tell you, "Well sorry but I just don't like this." But I've heard from many, "I know they are just trying to be nice, but this just isn't me. I don't have the money to spend on this kind of stuff and I'm just not comfortable wearing it, or using it," or what ever the case may be.
Keep in mind, it's not about money. Nothing ever should be about "money." I don't care how much money you have. Be kind, keep your nose down out of the air, don't be stuffy, don't judge others because they don't dress like you do or have the things you have. Who cares? Crimeny, if we all were rich/well to do, life would be dull. Besides, those of us that have had to work hard to get what we have, have learned to appreciate what we have. So stay down off your high faluten pedestal and use common sense. Give from the heart, not from the ways of the world. Don't make it about you, but rather make it about the person you are giving to. For some it wouldn't hurt for you to come down out of the clouds and humble yourselves.
When reading back through this, I realized I needed to state that I'm not trying to be mean nor judgmental. I'm just talking from experience and through the eyes of others as well. I've met those, "I'm too good for you" type people that have to outgive others, have to have the best of anyone, have to give their children nothing but the best, etc.
#4: When giving to your children, the best thing you can do is not go over board. As when you spoil a child they keep expecting it and don't learn to appreciate what they do have. Of course treat them special, but do the giving with in your means instead of putting yourself in debt. It reminds me of the commercial where the guy talks about all this "stuff" he and his family have and then he says, "Somebody help me please, I'm in debt up to my ears."
But this subject will be left for another post on a lesson hard learnt for hubs and I. Beleive me, spending--especially around the holidays--within your means will keep you from having headaches and night mares and working your fingers to the bones trying make ends meet. If you don't have it, don't spend it! Again, a lot of this comes from the Lord leading me to help others, and also from the voice of experience in all the areas talked about.
God's great Blessings abundantly to you. May you find great peace, joy, health, prosperity, good health this beautiful holiday season. And above all, don't forget the real meaning of Christmas.