Wait, DO you get the point? The point is to get you to buy something by luring you into a casual setting with friends and fun (and who could forget the added "perks" of hosting the party or possibly winning a prize) so that you can listen to a carefully rehearsed and whitty sales pitch. Do you really need any of those products? Do you even actually want any of them? Did you even know they existed before attending?!?
Well, I love a good get-together with friends, but often skip out on these parties (otherwise I'm up front and tell the host when RSVPing that I will not make a purchase). Think of alll the moolah we dish out on gasoline, groceries, and (particularly in this season) gifts! I don't know about you, but there are several people on my "list" that I either really want to give a gift as an expression of love -or- (just being honest here) I feel obligated to give a gift for one of many reasons who DON'T NEED ANYTHING. Not only do they not NEED anything, I'm not even sure of what they would want that they haven't already acquired . . . Know what I mean? Those people who just "stump" me.
One year, we didn't know what to get for a couple (who we really wanted to give a gift as an expression of love... ) we thought and thought and waited and waited, trying to come up with the right "something" for them. As Christmas approached, we made a last-minute decision to donate to a charity on their behalf. Even though I knew they shared our values, it felt like a cop-out. It felt impersonal, when indeed, we had put more thought into what to give them than anyone else (spouses and our own kids included)!
Let's rock the boat of tradition and celebrate Christmas in spirit and in truth! I want to take this one step farther, beyond just giving (and requesting) charity donations in the place of material gifts, this year, I'd like to host a "Charity Party" at my home. A total spin-off of the above mentioned "home parties," I'm already compiling ideas for a few fun games we can play to break the ice and keep the evening moving along. Toward the end of the party I will pass around a few catalogs from retailers and then describe how one (or more) charities could put the same amount(s) of money to use. An anonymous free will offering will be taken, the sum collected will be lumped together and sent off to the designated charity.
No idea how it will go over, but I can feel tingles of excitement just thinking about it- being able to laugh and enjoy the companionship of my friends in a festive environment where no one feels obligated to purchase anything, no tokens of obligatory buying will be pushed into the pile of clutter on the counter or set sail on a journey of gifting and re-gifting. And let's not forget the BEST part: the opportunity to make a REAL impact by blessing someone in need. Someone truly in need: of clean water, food for their children, medications and first aid treatment, an opportunity for education or supplies and/or training for a livelihood.
Ever since I first thumbed through the pages of World Vision's gift catalog (the online site doesn't do justice to the amazingly beautiful and descriptive print edition) and saw price tags put on life-changing and life-saving blessings, I've daydreamed about ways to give "bigger". I can't wait to see how this all plays out....