Gifts that give back – all year long

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, multiple songs, books and poems assure us this is true.

One very important reason for this is that it is a time of year when our thoughts and efforts tend to consider others before ourselves.  We busily plan parties, events, celebrations, and still find time to give our money, and energy to a special charity.

We think of the the true meaning of Christmas when we see nativity scenes or attend church.  But this season of the year is more than just a special time; it is more than just having a little time off with the family.  It is a way of thinking and feeling and of BEING in the world.  And it can last all year.

Do we give gifts to see the sparkle in the eyes of the recipient?  Do we give in hopes of making a child go crazy with excitement?  Do we give to make someone smile or laugh?  Do others look at your gift or use your gift the rest of the year with a special fondness for you the giver?  Do we give the gift that encourages and assures someone that we care and that we will be there for him or her through thick or thin?

God did.

Take a moment to recall how it feels when someone really gets the significance of a gift you have chosen specifically for them.  You know the one that jumped off the shelf into your arms screeming your friend or loved one’s name?  And then you wrapped it nicely and watched the reaction when it was opened….priceless.

That feeling comes from giving thoughtfully.

it is a tiny peak into the way God feels when He sees us receive the gift of a baby born in humble circumstances and when we pick that child up and place Him in our hearts to live – well I believe that brings God great JOY!

in this busy time of year let us remember to show our thanks for the most wonderful gift we could ever receive.  Let that spirit of thanksgiving for God’s special gift guide our thoughts words and deeds this Christmas and this year.

I found this list of 8 ideas for gifts that cost nothing, yet may mean everything to someone.  Feel free to add your own ideas to this list and share!

  • The gift of Listening:  but you must really listen.  No interruption, no daydreaming,no planning your response.  Just listening.
  • The gift of Affection:  Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, and pats on the back.  Let these small aactions demonstrate theh love you have for family and friends. (I had a friend tell me once that hugs can be restorative.)
  • The gift of Laughter:  Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
  • The gift of a Written Note:  It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet.  A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.  (I have boxes of notes colleted over the years from friends and family that mean a lot to me even today when I go back and read them again.  These notes show where the joys and concerns of life have been shared with significant others.  Someone will have to throw them out when I die, but until then, they have a special set of shoe boxes to occupy.)
  • The gift of a Compliment: A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day. (I know this seems unimportant, but it even makes me smile when someone notices my hair cut!)
  • The Gift of a favor:  Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.
  • The gift of Solitude:  There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone.  Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.
  • The gift of a Cheerful Disposition:  The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it’s not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

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