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How to Give Loved Ones Gifts That Keep on Giving

  • Joanna Teigen Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
How to Give Loved Ones Gifts That Keep on Giving

Christmas is a very big deal to our family! We’re the kind who play Christmas music by the end of October, put up the tree and ceramic village at Thanksgiving, and aim for a bigger, better outdoor light display every year. We could watch our holiday movies with the sound muted, since we have every word of dialogue memorized. The stockings hung over the fireplace were handmade by Grandma and the neglected piano gets dusted off and opened to play Christmas carols. It truly is our favorite season.

An important tradition for all of us includes the gifts we share. Last Christmas, stacks of brightly-wrapped packages reflected the lights beneath the tree. Every gift had been carefully chosen to bring delight and joy. Each box and bag represented a sacrifice of time, thought, and money to purchase the articles inside. A sense of anticipation built until our family gathered around to share a sweet time of giving to one another. 

Yet as another Christmas draws near, last year’s gifts have faded in our minds. The gift cards have been spent. Lego sets are scrambled together in a bin. Chocolates and candies left a trail of crinkled, empty wrappers to be thrown away. Once-new shoes and sweaters are becoming worn and faded. Presents that made us smile have become lost, broken, used up, or set aside in the busyness of our days. So few of our Christmas gifts can offer anything that lasts.

In this season, let’s look at shopping, wrapping, and celebrating with a fresh perspective. Here are six ways to give gifts that keep on giving to our families:

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Kesu01

1. Creativity

1. Creativity

God says each of us is made in his image. (Genesis 1:27) As our Creator, he’s put his spark of creativity in everyone. Our gifts to one another can offer an outlet for creative expression. Cookbooks, exotic spices, and unique tools let the cook in your life flourish in the kitchen. Camera accessories, editing software, and gift cards for photo processing let your favorite photographer shine. Painting lessons or ceramic studio sessions encourage your budding artist. 

Whether it’s drawing or music, organic gardening or knitting, video game design or interior decorating, we all feel the pull to create. Throwing your support behind your loved one will let them grow in skill and develop talents that last.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/sc0rpi0nce

2. Experiences

2. Experiences

Material things only last for a little while, but memories are for always. 

Tickets for a concert, Broadway show, or sporting event allow for quality time together and an experience to remember. Admission to museum exhibits and historical sites stir an awe of the “greats” in art and history. Travel to exciting, unfamiliar places opens our eyes to a much bigger world than we’ve known before. Theme parks or water parks are a great chance to laugh and connect with our kids. Visitor passes to national parks, zoos, and landmarks show God’s breathtaking hand in creation. 

Seeing, hearing, and tasting the wide world around us gives your family memories they’ll never forget.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/tatyana_tomsickova

3. Generosity

3. Generosity

We’ve all heard it’s better to give than to receive. The warmth we feel from blessing others endures far beyond the excitement of tearing open a package for ourselves. 

Allow your kids to “shop” for charitable organizations by choosing who and how to donate. Load up your trunk with snacks and cozy socks to distribute to the homeless as you drive around town. Fill a basket with homemade soup and cranberry bread to share with an elderly neighbor. Create a set of blank cards, stickers, glitter, and embellishments so your family can send encouraging notes from the heart in the coming months. Purchase colorful fleece so you can work together to make no-sew blankets for family shelters or animal rescue organizations. 

Simplifying our gift-giving to one another frees us up to give beyond the walls of our home. Invest in ways to bless others, and your family will be blessed in return, all year long.

Photo courtesy: ©ThinkstockPhotos/Mukhina1

4. Spiritual Growth

4. Spiritual Growth

Our kids are growing up fast—life is short! Yet our lives in Jesus endure forever. Rather than building up our stash of stuff here on earth, he invites us to build our treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).

Our kids will receive spiritual blessings through age-appropriate Bibles and books. A devotional and personalized journal invite our loved ones to spend personal time in God’s presence. Reservations at Bible camp give the gifts of fun, friendship, and inspiration to pursue a deeper faith. Committing to a family missions trip creates a shared gift to celebrate serving God together. Sponsoring a child through a relief organization puts love in action month after month. 

As we remember Christ’s birth, we can focus on remembering his love and compassion through our gifts to each other.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Wavebreakmedia

5. Passions and Callings

5. Passions and Callings

Is your young daughter obsessed with horses? The gift of trail rides or riding lessons says you see and honor her heart. Does your son get excited about athletics? Personal training or coaching sessions can boost his confidence. Your animal lover may be the ideal owner for a new parakeet or turtle. A young explorer or camper can take to the trail with gear for the great outdoors. An aspiring builder or decorator could make great use of tools or design software. Theater camp, after-school self-defense training, private pilot’s licensing, babysitting certification classes… the list of interests to explore and develop is endless.

You know your loved ones’ bent and dreams for the future. The best presents help to inspire and encourage them along the unique path they’re pursuing.

Photo courtesy: ©Pexels-SharonMcCutcheon

6. Quality Time

6. Quality Time

One of the most meaningful gifts we can share is our time and attention. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to put down our phones, clear our calendar, and draw close to the ones we love. We can give our daughter a “coupon” for a mani-pedi and lunch at her favorite restaurant together. Our son can receive an afternoon of fun with go-karts, mini-golf, or batting cages. A stack of new games, popcorn, and treats sets us up for special family nights of fun. 

For our marriage, we can give reservations at a romantic bed and breakfast. A stack of gift cards from a local coffee shop are an invitation to weekly time to catch up. Books and devotionals say you want to read together, exchanging ideas and knowing each other better. Gift certificates to favorite restaurants or theaters express how you still love to date your favorite person.

Our time is a priceless gift—let’s share our hours, our listening ears, and our focus with the ones we love most.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/LuckyBusiness

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

The perfect example of gift-giving is found in our Lord God. In his gift of Jesus to each of us, he was pursuing our hearts. He was rescuing us from the despair of sin and giving us eternal hope. His gift of Christ made a way for us to draw close and experience God’s love in every part of our lives. He gave us meaning and purpose as we serve him and bring praise to his name.

This Christmas we’re praying for wisdom to give what lasts. When our family opens their presents, we each one of them to feel known. Valued. Loved. We want to affirm who God created them to be. And we want to give out of gratitude for all they mean to us. 

God bless you as you celebrate the birth of our Savior. May you receive his gifts with gladness and joy.

Joanna Teigen and her husband Rob have shared over 25 years of marriage and life with five kids, plus a beautiful daughter-in-law. They’re a neat-freak married to a mess, an explorer to a homebody, and an introvert to a “people person.” But they agree their vows are for always, children are a gift, and prayer is powerful. Joanna is the co-author of A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son, 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates, and a variety of other resources for couples and parents. She looks forward to meeting you at GrowingHomeTogether.com.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Ulza





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