The Christmas season is upon us, and though I love the meaning and magic of Christmas, there are ugly parts that I loathe too. I love the spirit of Christmas- the happiness of getting together with loved ones, the beauty of the candle lights as the story of Christ's birth is shared, the generosity towards those less fortunate, and the special joys of giving a thoughtful gift to someone you love. What I dislike is the way that the world has taken this beautiful time and turned it into a money-making extravaganza-convincing us that we need more, we need bigger, and we need better. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, and sometimes sooner, we are bombarded with advertisements showing us what we "need" and we're told by society that we need to buy gifts for everyone, spending our money on things that we can wrap up to cross off a name on a list. It seems to lose its specialness, that way...it seems to take away the magic when we buy because we're supposed to rather than because our hearts are overflowing with love and joy for someone. When we buy just to buy, gift-giving becomes a dreaded chore rather than a meaningful and special experience.
I realize that giving gifts is a tradition that is enjoyed by many, me included, and that many people show love by giving these gifts. But if you're looking for something a bit more simple this holiday season, to fill up a person's heart rather than their home, these gift ideas may be for you.
Magazine subscriptions can be a wonderful gift! I personally love to get mail and hold a beautiful new magazine filled with new information on a topic that I love. Some of my favorite homesteading magazines are:
A Homemade Meal
Making a freezer meal for a busy mom or a family who could enjoy it shows love and compassion in so many ways. It shows that you notice how hard they are working, you care about their time together as a family, and you want to help with a gift from your own hands. Imagine how you would feel after coming home from working all day to find an already prepared meal ready and waiting for you to heat up. After I had my babies, these types of gifts were the best I could've received!
For some recipe ideas, check out this post: Five Meals to Make When Your Love Language is Food
A Meaningful Heirloom
A beautiful platter that once served your loved ones long ago. A flowered bowl that once held the food made on the woodstove of your grandmother's kitchen. A handmade quilt sewn meticulously by rough hands of a pioneer ancestor, sharing the story of the fabrics used and her nights spent creating this masterpiece. These gifts carry meaning. They carry something with them that a new gift from the store cannot- they carry the memories of days gone by with people of a different time. They're special and heartfelt, and can help the story of your family live on for years and years to come.
Is there a place that you know of that is wonderful to go to? A place that you know your gift recipient probably wouldn't go because of the cost? I know our family is very frugal- we rarely go out together as a family to any place that is going to cost us a lot of money. Perhaps you might consider purchasing that experience for a family you love. Some ideas might be entry tickets to a special place such as:
A Handmade Creation
What gifts do you have? Are you able to do beautiful work with wood? Paint? Make jewelry? Soap? Can you sew? Now think about someone you love and things that they love. Could you create a pair of earrings? Sew a memory quilt using someone's old shirts? Love to scrapbook? Create a scrapbook of memories for that person. Can you do woodworking? Make a cutting board for someone who could use one. Whatever talents you might have, use them to create a heartfelt and homemade gift that demonstrates your love through your time and care.
A Donation to a Charity in Someone's Name
"It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so...."
Read or watch the story of "The White Envelope" to see how powerful donating to a charity can really be.
Whatever you choose to give this holiday season, choose it because it shows love. Because it shows appreciation. Because it shows how much you care. Don't do it because the world tells you that you have to. Do it out of love.
What gifts do you like to give that aren't "things"?
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