Spend Less at Christmas?

November 30, 2017

by Erin Bird

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s the Christmas season! Houses all around town have lights on them. (I seriously think my house is the only one on my block without them!) Radio stations are pumping out Christmas music over the airwaves. And loud advertisements bombard us to purchase gifts for our loved ones.

Well, those advertisements must work. Because Americans spend a LOT of money on Christmas.


On Black Friday last week, Americans spent over $5 Billion. And Cyber Monday was even crazier. America set a new "record" spending $6.59 Billion. If that pace continues, it means, America will break the $658 Billion dollar record spent on Christmas last year.

That's a lot of moola. But what does that equate to for the average consumer? Over $900. And most of that $900-per-American goes on credit cards, which takes some people months to pay off (making it actually far more than $900!).

But while Americans are making VISA rich, global crises continue. For instance, Advent Conspiracy claims it would only take $10 Billion dollars to provide safe water to everyone on the globe.

So what if we spent a little less on ourselves this Christmas so we could give more to those in need?


This Christmas, I want to encourage you to Spend Less. Rather than convey your thoughtfulness to others through the amount you spend, I challenge you to convey your love in creative ways:

  • You might create something rather than buy it.
  • You could write someone a poem or a song.
  • You could give them a gift of food rather than a gift certificate to a restaurant.
  • You could even give them a homemade "coupon book" full of chores or tasks you will do for them.

These type of gifts will be better for your bank account, better for your heart, and quite possibly better for your relationships.


Here's one way my family lives this tenet out: LeAnn and I decided years ago to not give each of our kids 5 or 6 (or more) presents, nor focus on spending an equitable dollar amount on each of them. Instead, we give them only three gifts. Each gift is representative of the gifts the Magi gave the Christ Child in Matthew chapter 2.

  • The "myrrh" gift is something practical,
  • the "incense" gift is something to help them grow spiritually during the next year,
  • and the "gold" gift is the thoughtful, valuable gift - something we know will be meaningful to each of our kids.

We then set a budget for these gifts and stick to it. This helps us Spend Less each Christmas while making Christmas more meaningful for our kids.

Next week, we will look at the topic of Give More. Until then, think about how you can Spend Less this Christmas, while still making this one of the best Christmases you can remember.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

News & Notes in Your Inbox

Receive Riverwood's "News & Notes" weekly email in your inbox. Submit your email address below and stay in the loop.

Subscription Form

Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

We are on a mission to help people love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

It doesn't matter to us if you:

  • are a Wartburg student or a grandparent,
  • vote Democrat or Republican,
  • are married, divorced, or single,
  • have gone to church for years or haven't been to church in years,
  • make $100,000/yr. or wonder how you're going to pay rent this month,
  • or fear your past mistakes make you unlovable to God or others.

No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, we want to help you become who God has created you to be.

About Us
Join Us Sundays Starting at 9:30am CST
Last Week's Sermon