Starting the 'Christmas Tithe'
adapted from an article by Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners, http://sojo.net
A recent poll showed that Americans plan to spend more this Christmas season on consumer gifts than they did last year, but give less to charities and ministries that help the poor.
One way to give intentionally is to start a Christmas Tithe.
Keep track of all our holiday spending for gifts this year, and then tithe a percentage of that amount to an organization that directly serves the poor. A tithe is traditionally 10 percent, but you could decide to do less or even more. But make a decision about your Christmas tithe and pledge it to groups that are now struggling to respond to the highest number of Americans in poverty in half a century, and to those who focus on the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. This is a time to give more — not less.
Sit down with your kids and get them involved in the discussion and decision. You may be surprised at how responsive they are to doing this together. After you have opened your presents to each other; decide what to give to others. For ideas, you can use Sojourners’ Just Giving Guide. Such gifts can be given in the name of your children, family, or loved ones. You can also give to charitable organizations that have special meaning to you and your family, like orphanages, food pantries, or agencies that help the homeless or military veterans.
All of that can be part of your Christmas Tithe, teaching lessons of compassion and justice to your children.
Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery, and CEO of Sojourners. His forthcoming book is titled, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good.