Sometimes we forget that the best things in life are really free. Giving doesn’t have to be about physical things. Most of the stuff we buy breaks down, falls apart, gets old, and ceases to be useful, but the gift of sharing our time, love, encouragement, hospitality, and friendship can have a lasting impact. Who do you know that could use a little love? Who needs encouragement? What friends and family could you invite over to just share memories and the moment? Doing these kinds of things will help you to understand the real reason for the season.
Make a Gift or Give of Yourself
For years my younger children would give gifts they made in school or at home or would offer to do things for me. Radiance, (my 12-year old) was famous for giving a coupon book, redeemable for massages, doing dishes, or other services she was capable of rendering. While I can’t remember all of the gifts my son Shawn has given me over the years, I do remember the year that he took string and tape and made everyone necklaces and other ‘jewelry.’ He worked so hard on it and was so serious. They were priceless and memorable because it came from the heart.
Talley Family Gift Giving Tip
Our family is big. I have six children, five are adults. When everyone had to buy a gift for everyone else, it became very expensive. And this didn’t include spouses and grandchildren. Years ago I became overwhelmed with the cost of buying gifts for each one and the time required to do it. So, for the past few years we put all of the adult names in a hat and we each draw one name. We each then only have to buy one present. It works for us. And, if any family member knows that they will be bringing a special friend, they either put their friend’s name in the hat too or bring a small present for them so that they would not feel left out. Now, I’m not saying to not give or be generous if you want to and can afford to. But if it’s a stress and a financial burden, consider some alternatives. There are lots of other ways to show you care that don’t cost that much. I share 23 of them below.
23 Inexpensive Gifts
Take a card or flower to a sick or shut-in, or to a friend or relative you haven’t seen or spoken to for a while.
Take some cookies or cider to share with children’s teachers or neighbors.
Put together a picture book or send photos to family and old friends.
Write and mail a handwritten letter sharing what they mean to you and put in some cute stationary and stamps so that they write you back.
Take some flowers to the hospital and give to people who have no visitors.
Invite people over for a laughter night. Have them bring funny stories, movies, or jokes to share. Take pictures in funny hats and email or send to them later as a keepsake.
Give a single rose with a personal note of how they brighten your day to co-workers.
Buy cute socks, belts, accessories, or dollar store gifts and put in cute little bags.
Volunteer or make a contribution to a charity in someone’s name.
Give a service or offer to help out in some way. (Car detailing, Grocery shopping , Babysitting)
Create a cute coupon book of services you can offer.
Collect old blankets to distribute to the homeless and do it with your children and create a memory of service.
Purchase Movie tickets or discounted gift certificates or gift cards.
Use travel points to purchase a magazine subscription for a friend or family member.
Frame a meaningful quote or two.
Give books to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, students, or people on a self-journey.
Offer to cook for someone or bring them their favorite dish.
Purchase board games or cute journals with a nice pen.
Create a CD of their favorite music.
Teach a skill you have (computers, photography, cooking, sewing, braiding, home or car repair…)
Invite friends and family to a game night, play bingo and give dollar store prizes to the winners.
+2 [Sharon and Charmaine responded to this post and shared such wonderful ideas that I just had to share it below. LOVE IT!!!
22. Our choir takes shoe boxes and wrap them and fill them with socks, gloves, hats, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotions, goodies to eat, etc and take them to the homeless and those in transitional housing. I also pack these in plastic bags to keep in my car when I come across someone homeless at a traffic light. Sharon
23. I write letters of gratitude (something I am grateful for about them) to my family and friends and mail them along with a bracelet that I wear everyday that reads “Thank you God I am grateful”. (The bracelet can be purchased on thankyoubracelets.com. They are sold $3.00 per package of two). Someone gave this to me as a gift with a very nice letter and I have cherished it. What a wonderful idea and I have begun to do this myself.