This time of year, we scramble to find the perfect gifts for the most important people in our lives. Sometimes, we know exactly what they want or need and can wrap it up and set it under the tree. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are those who have what they want and need for whom shopping can be a nightmare. Not to mention the times when we just can’t afford the lavish gifts we’d like to give. However, we still want to present these people with something to show our love for them, so what are our options?
For the cash-strapped giver
It may sound trite, but this is the truth: some of the best gifts don’t come in boxes. The reason we give gifts on Christmas is as a reminder of the gift that God gave us: His Son. Jesus Himself was the gift for all humanity so that if we put our faith in Him, we would be saved (John 3:16). We can give gifts that are meaningful but aren’t tied with bows; we can give ourselves.
Coupons – Go back to your school days, break out the glitter-glue, and make some coupons for your loved ones. Offer one night of babysitting, a homemade dinner, a hang-out session or even a dog-walk. Consider the needs of your recipients. If you have a skill, offer that as a gift. Great at photography? Offer a free photo session.
Emotions – Search through old pictures and find one that could remind a friend or family member of a time you shared together, frame it and present nostalgia as a gift. If you’re poetically inclined, try your hand at a poem that describes your relationship. In our modern world of technology, it’s simple to record a short video of yourself speaking about why this person matters to you. These sorts of gifts, while not flashy, can be some of the most meaningful.
For the one who doesn’t need anything
Some people are fortunate to have no material wants or needs. How can we show them that we are thinking of them without burdening them with a meaningless trinket they’ll feel bad about throwing away in a few years? Give to others in their name. There are countless charities that work around the world easing physical needs and, more importantly, providing for eternal spiritual needs.
Think about the interests of the person to whom you are giving and find a ministry that supports that interest. There are gifts that provide food, others that provide means for the poor to start their own businesses, gifts that help get children out of human trafficking situations, some that provide an entire church or school building to those in need, and the list goes on.
One of the best parts about gifts like these is that they fit any budget. By donating to these causes in someone else’s name, you show them you are thinking of them but also providing help to a cause they would support. Many of these organizations will even send a card to the person in whose name you’re donating with information about the ministry.
Here are links to a few excellent sites that facilitate donating in the name of a loved one:
Samaritan’s Purse – www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/gift-catalog/
Food for the Poor – www.foodforthepoor.org/gift-catalog/
Cross International – crossinternational.org/giftsthatglorify
Compassion International – www.compassion.com/charitable-gift-catalog.htm
World Vision – donate.worldvision.org/giftcatalog
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed” (Proverbs 19:17).
A native-born Miamian, Tami Gomez is a freelance writer for the Good News while she and her husband attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina.