Author’s Note: Most of this is a re-post from last year. Hope it proves useful to someone needing suggestions for gift-giving.
While these suggestions are not original with me, they are on a different track from the usual ideas. They do cost you in time/money, but you can easily adapt them to your resources. (Please note: these ideas work best if you are familiar with the recipient’s age, circumstances, and likes/dislikes.)
Is the recipient someone who may not drive or someone “who has everything” and you’re stumped on what to buy him or her? If you are close enough to the person to know what brands of everyday products the person uses–facial soap, body washes, facial tissue, for example–buy some in bulk and wrap the items. Let your creativity come into play as you wrap the items. Some years ago I came upon this idea for gifts for my mother. It made such a hit with her that this is my “go-to” idea for Christmas and her birthday, which comes five days after Christmas. I buy products in the brands she uses and put them in a basket. I hide gift certificates to restaurants or stores among the items. Depending on the time/energy level I have, I either wrap each item or just wrap the basket. My mother enjoys opening her customized gift basket and finding each item hidden among the tissue paper. True, “everyday stuff” isn’t glitzy. But you know the recipient is going to use it; it won’t be placed in a cupboard never to see the light of day again. If the person comes into a situation where money is tight, the person will appreciate those everyday things even more!
Give the gift of time. If the recipient needs a certain project done and you have the skill and the means to do it, schedule a time to do whatever the person needs–then make sure to do it. Your time is worth as much or more than the money you spend on a gift for the person. You may be surprised how appreciative the person is!
As an offshoot to the above idea, if the person expresses a desire to learn a skill you know how to do, (say, a computer program or a small home-repair project) gift the person the skill! Get together and show the recipient how to do it. Most people want to be able to do things on their own, rather than have to call someone, so again, you may be surprised how much the person appreciates it, and you.
Several years ago my mother and I took a trip on a nearby river on an excursion boat. We went upriver probably about twenty miles or so. We went through at least one set of locks, and it was fascinating to be on the boat as the lock mechanisms raised or lowered the boat, whichever was needed. It was an interesting trip, particularly when I thought of all the history which took place on and along that river.
One day my dad and I were in his workshop when we heard birds squawking. Opening the outside door we saw several catbirds and robins flying back-and-forth from a tree. The object of their attention turned out to be a black snake winding its way up the tree. Given the birds’ angry cries and persistent activity, we deduced there was a bird’s nest somewhere among the branches.
At first the snake ignored the birds. But one by one the catbirds and robins took turns pecking at the snake’s vulnerable spot, the tail, which was dangling from the tree. Finally the snake gave up its quest and slithered down the other side of the tree in retreat.
I was amazed that this life-and-death adventure happened just a few feet away from us. On further thought, I was impressed by the courage and the united effort the birds displayed to get the snake away from the nest. I don’t know whether it was a robin’s nest or a catbird’s nest that was threatened. It didn’t matter to the birds; both kinds worked together to defend the nest. They knew what was important, and kept up the attack until they achieved the result they wanted.
For me, this serves as another object lesson from God: fight for what’s important, and keep at it until you are successful. Don’t give up; don’t give in.
With this news, strengthen those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, Be strong & do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” Isaiah 35:3-4