Do you remember giving your parents a coupon book for their birthday or Christmas? I remember that I usually gave those as a last resort because I didn’t have any money or other ideas and thought that a coupon book was an easy way to make my parents happy. However, I realized later that it became a more involved present when my parents actually used those coupons. The above comic strips from the “Zits” cartoon show some humorous versions of a Christmas coupon book a teen could give his parents. I was never smart enough to include simple ones like these. For some reason I actually included chores that I hated doing. Oh well.
It is amazing how quickly the holiday season can become something that families survive rather than celebrate. I love holidays because they are scheduled times for people to remember to slow down and celebrate. However, the celebration that is supposed to be a time for relaxation can easily become a time of stress and bloated schedules.
One area that can easily add stress to families if not kept in check is gift giving. I personally think that the gift giving part of Christmas is fun, and a way to creatively show someone that you care about them. However, I do see that when it becomes just an obligation and money thing that it misses the point. That is why I think that it is good sometimes to encourage “relational gifts” instead of just buying gifts. Relational gifts take more creativity and effort than just fulfilling someones Amazon wish list. Those coupon books you gave as a kid is a great example of what a relational gift could be.
A great resource to use next Christmas with your students to teach them about giving relationally is www.adventconspiracy.org.
They have great resources for teaching and for your students to get involved in a practical way in what God is doing around the world.