Are you exhausted yet? It’s the 22nd of December… And time is running out for last minute shopping. Come on now. Can you really say you gave it your all? Did you pull out all the stops to make sure everyone on your list got exactly the right gift?

Fear not, faithful Christmas warrior, because I’m here to tell you how to be the best gift giver ever.

I’ve done my fair share of scrambling. I’ve even procrastinated to the point where I didn’t have time to get a gift.

I’ve also been a great Santa, and spent way too much money on gifts, even though they were fabulous ones.

Stop for a moment. Think deeply with me.

What would Christmas be like without presents? What if Cyber Monday and Black Friday weren’t things? What if Christmas revolved around community and joy and forgiveness and selflessness?

If your answer is “boring,” you and I are kindred spirits. I really am a spoiled brat when it comes to my materialism. However, some aren’t like that. I can hear them saying now, “But I love to give! Giving gifts makes me feel so good!” Well, for the small handful of us for which giving is a little more stressful, let me say this.

There are two things wrong with Christmas when materialism interferes.

1. Instead of simply being generous, we start to fall in love with our own generosity, or


2. We love the gifts more than we love who gave them to us.

The whole reason we give gifts, some say, is to remember the gift of Jesus.

For once, I at least understand why Jehovah Witnesses make such efforts to remove a lot of cultural celebration from their lives, like birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.

In a way, Christmas has become more about the season and the weather and the cultural phenomena than it has the birth of our Savior and Master.

So, in a culture so pervasively abusive of a holy celebration of God with us, Emmanuel, in a time where the terms Cyber Monday and Black Friday are more often spoken than the name of Christ, maybe I should take a step back and reevaluate my own motivations for how I celebrate a day with a tree, lights, egg nog and a ham… and lots of gifts.

Let’s face it. Being the best gift giver is overrated. And… also impossible.

Because the best gift giver is not you. It is God. He gave Himself. And He didn’t do it so we could make Christmas Day about ourselves.

Love, the RYM Team