DOES THE THOUGHT OF BLACK FRIDAY UPSET YOU?
You can change things for the better!
Don't be put off by the thought that Christmas is getting
nearer, and don't be pressured into spending more money!
Instead, welcome the opportunity to do things
differently this time!
Plan ahead for a worry-free weekend:
24th to 28th November 2023
Blank Friday (24th November)
That's right: Blank Friday, not Black Friday!
Blank it out for yourself: it's a chance to get on top of things this year.
First, plan some leisure - or pleasure - time just for you over the next few days. Time on your own? Time with a partner or friend? Spend part of this weekend doing something you really want to do, preferably something completely unrelated to the festive season ahead.
And you'll enjoy that time more if you can also plan your Christmas budget. That doesn't mean joining the Black Friday rush. Again, blank out Black Friday. Try to work out how much you spent last Christmas. See www.christmasgiving.net/cost-of-christmas . Do you plan to spend a comparable amount this year - or more, or less? Once you've come up with a total figure, plan to set a proportion aside at the outset for charitable giving.
Then decide what this means for your own celebrations. Start with a blank sheet!
Can you give smaller presents (in terms of their value) this year?
Can you make some gifts yourself?
Can you do something for others in place of a gift?
See www.christmasgiving.net/top-tips for more suggestions! Friday 27th November is also 'Buy Nothing Day'
so try to stay away from internet shopping too! And continue this over the weekend...
Shopping free Saturday: 25th November
Now that you're beginning to relax, try to avoid the shops again today, other than for essential food and household items. Why not make a start on your Christmas cards? Have a look at www.christmasgiving.net/send-an-e-card for a selection of cards which might appeal to all those who would like to see less commercialisation of this season. Download your favourites for free (not forgetting to make a donation to your favourite card charity), then attach them to emails to friends and family, explaining what you're doing and why.
And now start thinking about those different gift possibilities listed on 'Blank Friday'. Decide what you might give to whom - and maybe start making some of them!
Advent Sunday: 26th November
Once you decide how much to give to charity, go ahead and do it. Send a cheque or make an online donation to your chosen organisation or project. And if you're responsible for leading a service on this Sunday, have a look at the resources on this website and especially Gifts for a King.pdf for a possible format, together with suggestions for readings, prayers, music and a sermon or talk.
CYBer ('catch your breath') Monday: 27th November
Just over four weeks to go - and you're now well ahead with your Christmas preparations. This is the time to think about the meaning of Advent, and to plan to spend time over the next four weeks in quiet reflection, on your own or with others. As you contemplate your Advent wreath, remember the symbolism of the wreath itself - the circle of eternity - as opposed to the temporal markers of the candles. Advent is not a countdown to Christmas. It is about awaiting the coming of Christ. The two are not the same thing. See Ruth Grayson, Reviving Advent, Reclaiming Christmas, Grove Books Ltd, 2015 (https://grovebooks.co.uk/products/s-134-reviving-advent-reclaiming-christmas)
Plan to have a calm, stress-free Advent season and a really happy Christmas this year.
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