Thursday, December 2, 2010

Some Creative Gift Ideas For Those Hard to Shop for People!

Christmas is only weeks away. Like many people, it's my favorite holiday of the year. I love the sparkly lights, the spicy smells in the kitchen, Bing Crosby crooning "White Christmas" through my speakers, and of course, I love shopping and seeing all the new things the season brings!

Sometimes it's challenging thinking of the right gift for a family member or friend. And the last several years I've been discovering a really fun way to give that perfect gift: give a gift to someone else. Here are some fun gifts to give:

- Choose an item from the World Vision Gift Catalog*. You can buy two chickens for a village for $25, or a variety of other things like food, seeds, trees, goats, Bibles, help for exploited women/girls, and many more things!
- Or browse the Compassion Christmas Catalog*, similar to World Vision's, that can provide necessary items to someone on the other side of the world!
- Partner with Angel Tree*, a program of Prison Fellowship, that provides gifts for the sons and daughters of men and women in prison. Local churches often set up an "Angel Tree", so you can grab a tag with gift ideas for a child, and go purchase the items, or you can go to Angel Tree and sponsor gifts for 2 children for only $11.44. 
- If you attend a church, find out if there is a family in need this Christmas, and consider adding them to your holiday shopping list. It might be a single mom who needs a new pair of pajamas, some babies who need diapers, a little girl/boy who would be delighted with a new toy, or a dad that needs a new pair of jeans.
- You can also contact Salvation Army, a local food pantry, homeless shelter... the options are limitless!

For several years Nathan (my husband) and I have chosen one or two of the things above to buy in lieu of gifts for our parents and grandparents. We gave each set of parents/grandparents a Christmas card, with a smaller card inside of it that told them what item had been purchased in their honor. This year, God had to get a hold of me in a new way...

The church where my husband and I attend has a Christmas tree set up in the foyer, with a bunch of tags attached to the branches. Each tag represents a child from Angel Tree (who has a mom or dad in prison), or a member of a local family, with needs/wants written on it. I was humbled as I read through the tags last week. They listed items like toothpaste, shampoo, razors, jeans, socks, pajamas, lotion, etc... Basics that I don't normally think of as "gifts". My husband has been asking me for weeks if I had any ideas of what I wanted for Christmas, and I suddenly knew: I wanted a couple of those tags and a day to go shopping for the items on the tags.

I think this is going to be one of my favorite Christmas's yet. I had so much fun going and picking out the various items on those tags. I chose quality items, items that would hopefully bless the recipients, and let them know that there is a God who loves them so much! If I had unlimited cash, I'd go take the rest of the tags off that tree and go shopping for a whole day! God has been so faithful to provide for my little family's every need, that I can't clutch His blessings to myself!!!

* World Vision, Compassion International, and Angel Tree are all organizations that seek to meet physical needs of families/individuals around the globe, so that they can ultimately share the greatest gift of all: the message of God's love for them.

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