When we think of Christmas we often think of gifts – buying and receiving gifts. While many of us may dislike the commercial aspect of Christmas, the theme of Christmas is actually spot on. Christmas is all about the ultimate gift; remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s son. His gift to the entire world. That gift was given with such sacrificial love, it was all about the recipients, and God held nothing back.
So as we give gifts this Christmas can I encourage you to give gifts from the heart. Give gifts that speak of love and thoughtfulness, give gifts that have the recipient in mind, give gifts that will cost you something. (and I’m not talking monetary).
Here’s some ideas that may help you to get your creative juices flowing. Some of these ideas we have done ourselves, other ideas are from others at FamilyLife.
Give the gift of a tribute to your parents, either independently or together
A tribute is a formal written document that details all the things your parents did right while raising you. It can incorporate special memories, lessons learnt, obstacles overcome and expressions of gratitude. When Andy and I did this we framed it and then gave it to each of our parents. It truly was one of the best presents they have ever received. At FamilyLife we have made this easy for you and you can download the gift of how to write a tribute below.
A book of family recipes
One year a friend’s sister typed up her mother’s handwritten recipes for all her siblings. She put them into a notebook with a copy of one of their mother’s final letters. Truly a precious memorable gift.
A family member gave me a ring that belonged to my real grandmother whom I had never met, seeing as she had died before I was born. Giving old family items can have lots of sentimental value without the high price tag.
Photo albums/Personalised books
A colleague at FL in the states writes, “One year, my dear grandmother (in her 90s), gave each of her 16 grandchildren a photo album that she had worked on for months. Each grandchild’s album was filled with pictures from her collection of that particular grandchild— from the time they were an infant into their adult years. I still cherish my album!”
My own Nana was a poet and one Christmas she sent me a typed booklet of all her poems she had written about her daily life in Cornwall. As I read them I can still hear her witty voice ringing in my ears. So very special.
A personalised Bible
An idea maybe for your children. You’ll have to begin this in January 2021 and give it next Christmas, but it’s a fabulous idea. You buy your child a bible and then all year as you read that bible you record your insights, make notes in the margin for your child, and write your prayers for them. I know a young woman whose Mum did this for her; two years later her Mum passed away, and now this young woman feels like she has part of her Mum’s heart with her as she reads those precious prayers.
A book of home made vouchers that can be redeemed at any time all throughout the coming year
Things such as ‘a massage’, ‘a car wash’, ‘a 7 second kiss’, ‘a candlelit dinner’, ’60 minutes of your uninterrupted time’, ‘some words of appreciation’, ‘a picnic on the beach together’, ‘an evening with my girlfriends’.
Be creative and think about what speaks love to your partner.
And lastly – the most precious gifts are those where you feel the depth of love from the giver of the gift
When Natasha left us for heaven in 2008, that Christmas was the hardest ever. Tasha loved Christmas and was big into gift giving and traditions, and the thought of doing Christmas without her was just too hard for my heart to bear. Thankfully those around us ‘got’ it and we received some precious heartfelt gifts. One was a bright pink bauble with the name “Natasha” on it in silver glitter. My darling Mum knew how Tasha loved to decorate the tree, and so having her name twinkling through the pine needles brightens my spirit every year. Another precious gift was a snow globe (from our niece) with Natasha’s photo in it. And then Andy’s brother Tim gave us the most exquisite delicate crystal angel – again to hang on our tree.
Such thoughtful gifts make us feel deeply loved and understood, and reminds us that we are not alone on our journeys.
And now thanks to another dear friend, Andy’s name hangs next to Natasha’s. As they sparkle in the light, turning gently in the breeze, I’m reminded that the world continues to turn, life begins new rhythms, God is always, always good, and He has gifted us with a community of people who continue to pour love and support into us and do life together.
Mother Teresa, who devoted herself to caring for the sick and poor, left us with a good statement….
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do … but how much love we put into that action.”
This Christmas, let’s put more than things into our packages. Let’s add our love and give gifts from the heart.