Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 41, Christmas Cards (93...Free!)

Christmas cards and postage can be expensive. With envelopes, they use a lot of paper. Many get tossed after the holidays. It's time consuming to send them. And sometimes they seem unnecessary...especially for those that you see all the time.

I've been reading A Simple Christmas. One idea in particular caught my eye.

The author, Alice Chapin, describes how a church congregation (or other group that regularly meets) could save money by posting ONE Christmas card from each family on a bulletin board for the ENTIRE congregation rather than individually giving cards to every family. She then suggests using the money saved for a known financial need...either a charitable cause or a "project".

It seems that this could be applied to a lot of groups. For example, a playgroup (that regularly meets in one facility) could post cards in one location and use the money saved to purchase new supplies for the playgroup or to help a struggling local family buy Christmas gifts. Monies could be used to buy books for a library, stock a food pantry, or purchase warm clothing for local homeless.

In the case of some of the more elaborate photo cards, this could add up to quite a bit of money. Let's say that 20 families participated, each posting 1 card and donating the money they would have spent to distribute 19 cards. If each card costs 75 cents, that's:

19 cards/each family doesn't purchase x 75 cents/card x 20 families participating = $285

$285 could do a lot to purchase supplies for a group or to help a local family in need.

Lizzi, my 13yo, wrote a skit to introduce the concept to our congregation. Her 8th grade Sunday School class is raising money to buy warm clothing for homeless teens in our town. If anyone would like to modify the skit to fit their group, it's here for the taking! ;)

(Two kids standing center stage)

1: I wish I could do something to give the homeless kids in _____ a merry Christmas!

2: Me too. But with the economy like it is, I can’t spare anything.

1: I wish there was a way for us to earn money for those kids.

2: Yeah. Well, you know how we give Christmas cards to pretty much everyone in the congregation?

1: Yeah, so?

2: What if each family put one card on this bulletin board, and gave the extra money they saved by doing this to the homeless children in _____?

1: That would work, but I don’t buy Christmas cards! Think the adults could help us? comes one now...

(#3 comes walking fast through door, muttering to self about x-mas letter.)

3:Dear Friends and family. This year has gone by without much of anything happening. No….. that won’t work. Dear Loved ones, I hope this Christmas finds you and your family safe. Ugh.. that’s too boring, everyone says that. I’m never going to write a good letter in time!

1: Um, excuse me?

3: No time to talk! What’s a good opening for the perfect letter? Oh, never mind.

2: Do you have a moment?

3: No one has a moment during the holidays!

1: We’re raising money for homeless children in _____, would you like to donate? It only takes a litt-

3: I don’t have time! Let’s see, Jimmy turned 3 this year, I could put that down…..

(3 walks off stage, still writing)
(kids shrug.)

2: Oh! Here comes someone else!

1: Let’s ask them!

(#4 comes in, arms full of envelopes)

1: Wow! That’s a lot of cards!

4: Yes, and I still have to address them all!

2: Would you like to donate your change to give the homeless a merry Christmas?

4: I would love to dear, but I have to get these cards mailed! I have to send one to ________ (list a dozen names known to the group), oh and then there's ____________ (list names until exited off stage),….

2: Whoa.

(#5 comes in, has an order form for cards)

2:What’s that you have?

5: The order form for my Christmas cards

(kids look at each other and grin.)

1: Are you interested in making homeless children happy this year?

5: Yeah, but what can I do?

2: What if we told you that there is a bulletin board up at church where you can put up one Christmas card, and everyone could see it?

1: Then you can donate the money you save to help the children in ______ without a home!

5: Okay!

(#6 comes in, carrying a bag of cards)

6: Hey guys! What’s going on?

5: These kids had a great idea! We can put up one Christmas card at church, and give the money we save to charity!

6: But, I already bought my cards!

1: You can still donate if you’re feeling charitable!

2: Maybe, 10% of what you spent on the cards?

6: Great!

(5+6 walk off, whispering excitedly.)
(1+2 walk up to microphone)

1: At _____ high school alone, over 50 kids have been identified as homeless. We can let them know that someone cares. By giving one card to the congregation, rather than giving individual cards to each family, you can not only save money, but time, stress, and brain cells. Not to mention paper.

2: I mean, _______ doesn’t change from Sunday to Sunday!

1: And _______ has looked the same for the past 15 years!

Starting next Sunday, we will be at the bulletin board to collect your cards and--if you like--your donation. They money you donate will be used to buy warm clothing and supplies for homeless teens in our town.

All: Help us put the Christ back in Christmas!

1 comment:

Ansley said...

This is an awesome idea (and a great skit, too.)

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