It's Christmastime so We Gotta Talk about Materialism...Right?


Christmas is a couple of weeks away.  The focus in most of our homes is on gifts.  Youth group students have created long lists of all the items they “need.” My question is this, how do we cover this topic in our youth groups in such a way that we impact thought without instilling guilt or resentment in our students?

Maybe this is a lame blog, because I don’t have an answer for this.  In all of my years as a youth leader, I never found a resource that nails this topic in s straight-forward and gracious way. I would love to hear from folks out there who have figured this one out.

And if other youth leaders are like me and rarely plan far ahead, we have plenty of time to share ideas before we actually have the youth group meetings between now and Christmas.

So if you have ideas, let’s hear them.  If you think we ought to avoid this topic, share those thoughts too.

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OK, so I suppose, I'm the black sheep of the bunch because I plan most of my entire year in September, and I have no time, ever....because knowing what I am going to do allows me to be involved in many other activities, as well. (lol) I still only give it to my kids piecemeal, which allows me the flexibility to change the schedule as the year goes on, as other people want to speak to the kids and as other "brilliant" ideas that come to me throughout the year, but planning ahead even in a skeleton outline is so much easier to tackle and drive the group in a focused direction.....OK....wrong topic - maybe another great topic for the future...back to what the issue is...Sorry :>}

.Yes, I think materialism is actually a VERY easy topic to talk about for many reasons. If you've experienced poverty, REAL poverty, the first thing that becomes cemented in your brain is HOW MUCH WE HAVE THAT WE DON'T NEED! Let me say that again, with a little less emotion, , how much we have that we don't need! We squirrel our stuff away, we save double for "just in case", we constantly waste the resources we have and on and on and on! Two simple things to incorporate: Teach by example! show them where they are falling into the trap of having so many things (starting with clothes) and they will soon get the hint. I noticed it with my kids without even trying. I started to here them saying things I was saying without even knowing I was saying it. ALSO: Don't give up on the service projects in your community; the higher awareness and exposure they have to what reality is around them, the more it will be on their mind. How can we share to those who actually NEED it more than us....ultimately downsizing our addiction to having, MORE, More More......

Another thing that my wife has had success with, is being the English/British Literature professor she is, She has a "Grinch Who Stole Christmas" PowerPoint presentation that she shows to various groups every year (Schools, churches, youth groups....whoever will listen) She emphasizes the Christian parallels to the story and it is her way to honor the true meaning of Christmas, to ward off the ever-growing monster of materialism that can jade our senses to real joy.

I don't know if this helps, but I think if you are truly honest with yourself and understand how big a problem this really is, that it will be quite easy to tackle this topic, not only during this time of year, not only as a 1-time, 1-night devotion topic, but to be challenged to uphold this ideal to ward off this cultural humanistic - and essentially rooted in the sinful nature of man - addiction throughout our lives; plant seeds that twill flourish and they can use long after they have left youth group; probably there will be some who will even go away empowered to do something about it....Merry Christmas :>)