Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Gifts That Speak from the Heart

  • Meg Bucher Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
10 Gifts That Speak from the Heart

Christmas presents quickly become fruitcake cheesy and impractical unless we plan ahead to give heartfelt gifts this season. The point of Christmas is to move beyond materialistic lists that are advertised to us each year. When we rush to grab a limited quantity item or a deeply discounted product, we can end up with an empty wallet and a pile full of meaningless “stuff” to wrap.

When we focus on Christ’s all-encompassing gift to us, we are sure to find ways to be thoughtful in giving to others. Like everything else in life that we worry about, gift-giving can be lifted up to Him through prayer. Spending time with Him in the Word each day will tenderize our hearts to the reason for the season. When we walk through life with a grounded perspective, He flows in and out of our lives affecting every part of it! It will help us to think more of others. Here are ten ways to give that challenge the sentimental parts of our hearts.

Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Melpomenem

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    1. Be Thrifty

    Slide 1 of 10

    Thrift stores are not glamorous, but they are filled with things that were once treasured by someone else. Wandering up and down the aisles lends to the fragility of life. How quickly things we once couldn’t live without ended up on those shelves. It gives a good perspective towards what we think we need. There is an investment of time that is conveyed immediately upon opening a collectible or memory-sparking gift that took time to find. 

    The opportunities for gifts are only as limited as the imagination and creativity of the giver. To spruce up someone’s front door, a secondhand wreath can be refreshed and adorned with new sprigs of seasonal flowers, and perhaps a last name initial. A set of mismatched picture frames can be transformed by donning a uniform coat of spray paint and a meaningful picture. Vases can be embellished and filled with fresh flowers, and stacks of books can be tied together with ribbon for reading. For those that lack the creative ability for ideas, there’s Pinterest and hot glue! Go for it! 

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    2. Homemade Holiday Goodies

    Slide 2 of 10

    I’m often associated with my famous batch of chocolate chip cookies. I bring them to every get together throughout the year, and my friends and family look forward to them. When the holidays come around, friends and neighbors love to receive my Christmas cookies. It’s a special, once-a-year treat. Is there something that you make that is always a hit? Put Ingredients to that great party dip or cracker spread in a mason jar. Pass out jars of the salsa or jam that everyone loves. Or box and deliver homemade pies. 

    Not a baker? Here’s another idea: hot glue some vacation-time memorabilia to a styrofoam cone. Add a little starfish to the top of a sea-shell tree or birch star to the cone of colorful lake rocks collected on a meandering walk along the shoreline. A meaningful holiday decoration will remind the recipient of happy memories for years to come. If you know someone having a baby, a “just like new” outfit or dress put on a special hanger is both thoughtful and meaningful. 

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    3. Experience the Present

    Slide 3 of 10

    There are people in our lives that either have everything already or are terribly hard to give to. For those people on our list, take a moment to think about the shared interests we have. Pick a favorite, and find an experience to match it. There are two ways this can be done. One, by spontaneously planning to surprise this person, or by gift card/certificate so it can be planned in advance.

    For the coffee lover, a date to a trendy coffee shop or a mug with a gift card will warm their heart. Tickets to see the next big romantic comedy and a card loaded for concessions is a sweet treat for a couple in need of a date night. A board or card game for the next game night with friends, zoo tickets for one family to join another, or sports/concert tickets depending on our budgets are all great gifts of time well spent in good company. 

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    4. Make the Most of a Meal

    Slide 4 of 10

    Human beings are created to be together, and a meal shared around a common table is one of the best ways to do that. A meal can be a great gift for someone who has a busy work schedule, or a college student home on winter break. Moms always appreciate a meal that they don’t have to plan, buy for, and cook. Gift cards to grab a bite to eat at a favorite lunch stop or coffee shop are appreciated by teachers. Everyone seems to have their own language of love for food. 

    Gift baskets can be created and themed with all of the ingredients a busy college student will need to prep the same meal we invite them over for when they arrive back at school. Pre-arranged and paid for babysitting for a couple of tired parents that don't’ have any family in the area is meeting a need that they might not even realize they have. Arriving at an elderly person’s home, who may be lonely around this time of year, with dinner to sit down and share with them feeds their need for conversation and company, too. Consider who could use the gift of a meal, this Christmas. 

     

    Photo credit:  ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    5. Fill a Tank

    Slide 5 of 10

    Christians are told to love their neighbors as themselves, but how often do we fail to look down the street to see if everyone is doing OK? Jesus wasn’t just talking about proximity, He meant that we should treat everyone we come into contact with that way, but starting with our neighborhood is a great way to survey the immediate need within arm’s reach. God purposely places people in our lives for a reason. 

    There are so many ways we can fill a tank this holiday season. Here are few ideas. Are there elderly on our block that need the oil changed in their car? Take it to the dealership for them and pay for it to be done. Is there a family a few houses down who’s husband or wife has recently lost their job? A full tank of gas in their vehicle is something they may never ask for, but would greatly appreciate. What about the firemen and police officers in our towns? Are they on our gift lists this Christmas? We can show them our appreciation with a gas station gift card, so they can fill up their tanks on us this Christmas. They spend all of their time patrolling our streets, we can give them a free ride to see family over the holidays. 

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    6. Photo Gifts

    Slide 6 of 10

    Photo Gifts have become widely popular over recent years, and there are many websites that offer to make products for us and ship them right to our front doors. It’s a simple way, especially for those that are not as creative, to give something that comes from the heart. Photo gifts can be for the Christmas season, or gifts that remain around the house long after. 

    The trick to photo gifts is to make a connection. Make it something they will actually use or display in their home. A Christmas ornament with a family photo on it and the year it was taken in will mark that season of their lives. One with a verse and a triumphant smile after a hard season will provide a reminder of encouragement in years to come. Photo books are great for grandparents who don’t see their grandchildren often. They can display on their coffee tables what they love to talk most about, anyway. 

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Halfpoint

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    7. Milestone Celebrations

    Slide 7 of 10

    Every day is a gift for which to praise God, but some reign more celebratory to the human hearts than others. Grandparents celebrating their 50th Christmas can commemorate the milestone with a freshly framed picture of their first Christmas together. A blanket embroidered with the name of a couple’s new addition to the family and “First Christmas” is sentimental and practical. A Christmas ornament with a college graduate’s school mascot will be a welcome reminder for years to come of a job well done. Champagne for the newlyweds to celebrate their first Christmas Eve together, or a wreath for a family’s first Christmas in their new home make for thoughtful gifts. 

    When searching for milestones, start asking questions. Sometimes, we fail to realize that our friends and family are experiencing these high points in life because we are so busy with our own. Social media helps us keep track of each other’s birthdays, but starting a calendar to remember when new babies will be born and anniversaries will be celebrated is a great way to prepare in advance for some unique and heartfelt Christmas gifts. 

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    8. Shop Local

    Slide 8 of 10

    As a mom of school-aged kids, the cost of school spirited gear adds up faster than I can keep up with as they continue to grow. Sweatshirts or t-shirts that they can wear to school on spirit days and to football games are great gifts, especially to families that are new to the school-system. Make it even more personal by adding their name to the back or sleeve. This is also a great idea for college students, who may not be able to afford the prices at the college bookstore. 

    This can be a great idea, even for those that do not have kids in the school or post-secondary education system. Look for local vendors that sell decor or clothing with the name of the city or town that you live in on it. Sometimes, we spend so much time and energy on souvenirs from the places we visit that we neglect to own anything that associates us with our hometown! Given by a neighbor or friend in town, this is a neat way to make someone feel like a part of their community. 

     

    Photo credit: Amazon.com

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    9. Hobbies and Collectors

    Slide 9 of 10

    This gift requires us to pay attention to the lives of those who take up space on our Christmas gift-giving list. There is a man in our town who turns his whole front yard into a train collectors dream come true, with running train cars and dozens of scenes that they zip through. It’s a free gift to the community to come and see what he’s up to each summer. For the collectors in our lives, ask what additions they are seeking to add. 

    For those that don’t have collections, there are most likely hobbies or sports teams they like to root for. Teachers may long for classroom supplies that exceed their own budgets as well as their school’s. Runners and other endurance athletes are constantly burning through gel packets, gear, and race fees. Moms can never have enough frames for kid pictures. Book lovers will always entertain an excuse to browse the bookstore, especially with gift card in hand. Coffee lovers long to try a bag of fresh coffee. Find what people are passionate about. 

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Be Thrifty

    10. The Word

    Slide 10 of 10

    Christmas is a great opportunity to pay forward the message of truth and life that has set us free. Rather than focusing on what they believe and where they stand, the gift we give from our hearts should reflect the One who resides in it through the Holy Spirit from the moment we receive the grace of Christ. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” 

    Take time in daily prayer to ask for God’s guidance towards a verse to encourage a certain person on our hearts. Or, it can be a verse that has been an encouragement to us in the past that we choose to pay forward. The VOICE version of 1 Corinthians 16:14 states, “Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions.” There are many ways to spread God’s Word at Christmastime. A coffee mug or a journal adorned with Scripture, a daily devotional book or simple bracelet with a cross and a verse on it. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that God’s Word can stand on it’s own, so we needn’t worry too much about what verse or gift to give. If it displays God’s word, He’ll take it from there. 

    “The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a doubleedged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

     

    Photo credit: Unsplash

    Meg encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emoti-moms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org.