Giving gifts at Christmas reminds us of the magi honoring the gift of Jesus in our world. I try to reorient my children by focusing first on gifting others sustainably. There are engaging ways to do this. We flip through the Heifer catalogue together and talk about the pictures, which often feature children from around the world grinning next to the animals which sustain their families. Choosing a donation to gift together–whether of a goat, clean water or women’s empowerment—sparks conversation. Or we surf the KIVA website, meeting different people around the world who are asking for microloans. I invite my son to choose a person to sponsor and pay the $25 out of his own piggy bank to purchase a share in a microloan on their behalf. We also commit each year to creating something together at home that we can offer as gifts—anything from ornaments doused in an appropriate amount of glitter glue to hand-drawn pictures that are easily turned into greeting cards to treats we whip up together in the kitchen.
Lu Firestone grew up in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, New York. She left to do her undergraduate work at Georgetown and spend some years as a Jesuit Volunteer on the Colville Reservation in Washington State before getting her Master of Arts degree in Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She returned to Buffalo’s West Side to continue advancing Jesuit values at Canisius College where she serves as a Campus Minister. Lu and her husband Peter are raising 2 children, son Isaiah and foster daughter Madelynn, as well as countless cats, fish and plants. Lu believes that when we risk engaging God and attempting to live out of a place of authenticity and awareness, we can all lead beautiful, courageous lives and do great things for our world.