For the past three years we have participated in The Advent Conspiracy movement.

Gift Box

Image by Maeflower72 via Flickr

So what is that and what does it mean for the holiday that has become all about materialism?

For us it means really investing in our families. Every family has its own problems and our was no exception. However, there were several close relatives that we had extra strained relationships. So the first year was very difficult. It meant facing issues I didn’t want to see and forgiving things I didn’t want to.

While some of these things were petty, much of them were not. Our family doesn’t participate in The Advent Conspiracy much less feel that the holiday is more than gifts. So this has been a one sided attempt. And you know what? It has made a huge difference! Although they aren’t trying to change and become closer and more loving, it is happening because we are closer and more loving. Sometimes you have to be willing to be the only one to make an effort. But I must warn you that you will have to swallow some pride and take a few emotional hits, especially in the beginning. It will be worth it.

On to the gifts and what it means for them… Many people who hear about The Advent Conspiracy get it all wrong. They become stingy with gifts and money an end up causing more harm than good. They misunderstand the idea. It does NOT mean to withold gifts. In fact I think it means almost the opposite. It means to be intentional about the gifts you do give. Pay attention to the people you will be sharing the holiday with. Listen to them and learn who they really are. Then find the gifts that will speak to their hearts. The gifts won’t be the focus during the holiday but instead icing on the cake to the relationship you have been nurturing.

So what will you give this holiday?