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 | By Cynthia Kaan

Swap gift-giving for giving together

Are you and your group of friends just starting out and wondering if you can afford to do a gift exchange? Why not try this — do away with friend gifts altogether! Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas without material gifting.

1. Adopt a family together. Why not grab an angel or two from the tree at church and spend an evening shopping for the child or family? This allows you to spend time together while helping others feel loved in the process.

2. Volunteer at a shelter as a group. Some people are not entirely comfortable volunteering on their own. Invite your friends to volunteer to serve a meal and offer your companionship to others while enjoying your time together.

3. Take turns hosting a “family dinner.” Have one person open their home and cook the main dish while everyone else brings delicious holiday side items. Spend an evening enjoying each other’s company while breaking bread. This is a lovely tradition that has the opportunity to nurture true friendships.

Christmas is not about material gifts — it’s about giving of ourselves in order to shine a light on the true gift we have received in Christ Jesus. Embrace that truth and let his light shine!