This is Day 10 of the 30 Days of Giving: Making Christmas Meaningful campaign, which is designed to bring the community creative and practical ways to cheerfully give this holiday season through gifts, relationships and charity. Come visit the 30 Days of Giving Advent Calendar each day in our countdown to Christmas for intriguing and original ways to help you to experience and spread the spirit of joyful giving that God intended throughout the holiday season.

While many understand that Christmas is meant to commemorate the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ; the over-focus on presents and material things have made over the holiday to become more like “Stress-mas” than Christmas.

While friendships and relationships are extremely important in life, giving presents to your loved ones for Christmas doesn’t necessarily have to mean breaking the bank. Thinking of ways to express your love and appreciation during the holidays can be done without maxing out your credit cards.

Rather than focusing on the material worth of a present, which can take away from the true spirit of the holiday, focus on gifts that can’t be measured through material costs. 

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate. 1 Timothy 6:17-18

Quality Time

In a day and age where working overtime is a necessity and no one seems to have the time to take off a Sunday for relaxation, quality time with a friend can often seem like something that simply isn’t possible anymore. Instead of gifting another scarf to your friend, think of gifting something far more precious than anything money can buy.

Gifting quality time can mean offering to babysit so your friend can spend a well-deserved date night with his or her spouse, booking a babysitter so you and your friend can go to your favorite hangout spot, or even just making a home cooked meal that your friend doesn’t need to organize. Simple things like this can mean more to a friend than any wrapped present, because it offers a meaningful gift that will help to create memories that will last a lifetime.

A Book of Memories

While friends may not remember the actual items purchased during a shopping trip, they will definitely remember the actual time spent with loved ones. Take advantage of all the memories your friendship has held by making something to show how special your relationship is.

Creating a scrapbook with all the keepsakes you’ve collected through the years can be a great way to exhibit all the great memories you’ve made over time. This can mean a collage of movie stubs, game day tickets, vacation photos or anything that make for a great collection the two of you can smile over.

The Gift of Charity

Gifting someone a charitable donation in his or her name is often thought of as a lackluster present. However, oftentimes people have a charity that is close to their heart.

Whether it’s someone whose parent has succumb to breast cancer, a person close to someone with a life threatening illness or even a passionate animal lover, many people have a cause that is extremely important to them. Gifting to a charity in a friend’s name is a great way to show her that you are sympathetic to what is important to her. Also, gifting to a charity is a way to put your money towards helping others in the spirit of giving.

People stress over how to give the perfect gift, how to afford the most sought after toys and how to top last year’s presents. However, Christmas should be the least stressful time of the year because it is about joyously celebrating the birth of the Christ our Savior.

It is important to remember the true meaning behind this holiday and the first step to achieving this is by relieving some of the stresses that can come during the gift giving process.

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