A new article by a 20something in WaPo’s On Faith discussion examines Christmas shopping for 20somethings.
My question: What are you doing for Christmas shopping?
What does this mean for our consumer habits? This Christmas, how are twenty-something Christians engaging in the requisite shopping/buying/gift-exchanging?
Fed up with the consumerist excesses of Christmas and the maddeningly widespread association of celebrating Christ’s birth with going in to credit card debt, some young evangelicals are opting to spend less on presents and instead are giving money to charity, as in organizations like “Heifer International” — a nonprofit where donors can gift things like llamas and tree seedlings to struggling communities across the world — or the “Advent Conspiracy”– a coalition of churches that ask their parishioners to curtail the retail habits of the holidays and instead give their money to organizations that build water wells in Africa (see video below).
But I would wager that for most evangelicals my age, buying and receiving gifts at Christmas isn’t necessarily a terrible thing — as long as the gifts in question are meaningful or edifying, or just good. For them, giving a friend a hand-carved smoking pipe or a copy of Augustine’s City of God is an entirely appropriate way to celebrate the birth of Christ. An album by a groundbreaking artist or a box set of French New Wave DVDs celebrates the Advent season just as much as something traditionally seen as “sacred,” simply by virtue of the fact of its being artistically excellent.