Best Christmas Gifts: Gifts From the Heart

What are the best Christmas gifts? With the festive season fast approaching, the search is on again for the perfect gift. Every year, we save our pennies to purchase the perfect new gadget, or tech-toy, or what-not for everyone on our shopping list. Every year, we search though malls, specialty stores, boutiques, and big-box stores for that perfect present.

I love Christmas. I love all the hustle and bustle; all the holiday cheer and good will. I enjoy the challenge of picking up something I know the recipient will just love - and I certainly enjoy receiving each and every perfect Christmas gift that someone else has picked out for me. Well, some of the gifts are perfect, but some definitely fall into the Now-where-can-I-put-this ? category.

In Dr. Seuss' brilliant and enduring Christmas tale, the Grinch learned about the true meaning of Christmas - "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. "Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more! " I agree, and I believe that some of the best Christmas gifts are gifts from the heart.

Photo from lastminutegiftideas.org
Photo from lastminutegiftideas.org
Charity gift cards from thedailygreen.com
Charity gift cards from thedailygreen.com

Organized Charities

In recent years though, some very wise friends have initiated a plan to avoid such "Where can I put it?" items. They have asked their early teen-age children to pool their limited resources in a single gift for their parents.

Last year, the kids turned a modest amount from each into a night out for their parents - dinner and a movie. This year, the teens have been saving for the gift of an overnight stay in a swanky theme hotel, complete with breakfast buffet. I'm sure their parents will be tickled.

Another couple I know has decided that their special present to each other will be a charitable donation. I have watched them pore over the brochures, excitedly searching for the place where they feel their donation will do the most good.

Ordinary folk of modest means, their gifts have touched many lives. They have helped to sponsor a school, dig a well for clean water, and provide farm animals to villages in impoverished areas.

Gourmet Cookie Basket from creativetouchco.com
Gourmet Cookie Basket from creativetouchco.com

Goodwill to all

A lady down our street specializes in amazing baked goods. Every afternoon, she visits one or another of her friends for afternoon tea or coffee.

From mid-November 'til well after Christmas, her routine expands to include many more visits. Though we see our neighbor often during the year, we all look forward to this special time.

She arrives for an afternoon visit with tea, coffee, juice, and a basket of home-baked goodies.

As well, she knows all the shut-ins, single moms, and harried care-givers in her area. Every one receives an afternoon visit from the Christmas cookie lady - even the local day care.

The staff there welcomes her with open arms every year when she arrives with a basket of goodies and a candy cane for each child and worker.

Dinner for two, from delcomag.com
Dinner for two, from delcomag.com

Personal charity

One busy Christmas season, my sister arrived out of the blue, to make supper. I was working extra hours to make ends meet, and coming home to a nice meal cooked by someone else was a real treat.

Another Christmas, some kind-hearted friends who knew we were struggling, invited themselves over.

They arrived with a marvelous casserole, a bottle of wine, and a food hamper of essentials for several more meals - pasta, canned vegetables and soups, crackers, bagels and cream cheese, topped off with a small box of specialty chocolates and a lottery ticket.

More Best GIft Ideas

Here are some more wonderful ideas that I have gathered from family and friends. Some are things we would ordinarily do for our loved ones without thinking twice. Some require a bit more thought and tactfulness.

Are you a great cook who appreciates the opportunity to strut your stuff? Everyone appreciates fine dining, but can't always afford to go to a top restaurant. Prepare a delicious dinner for friends. Fine dining with all the trimmings - candlelight, nice wine, a fancy dessert. Top off the gracious service by cleaning up the kitchen afterwards and doing up the dishes.

Take a friend to lunch. This seems easy - we do this kind of thing every day. I would suggest you use this lunch date to reconnect with a friend you don't or can't see often. What a wonderful holiday gift - spending time together.

Do you know someone who doesn't drive? Offer to take them Christmas shopping. Its so much more enjoyable shopping with a friend, especially when it comes to carrying everything in. A non-driver will especially appreciate help in shopping for groceries for the Christmas feast. Even a modest turkey can be heavy to carry home on the bus, and you can save them the taxi fare, as an added bonus.

What about single parents, or parents of kids who can be a real handful? Any kids occasionally fall into that category, and sometimes we all need a break. Offer to babysit for an evening, or, if possible, offer to take the kids for a weekend. Free babysitting can make time away affordable.

Gifts don't have to cost a lot

Couples with pets would appreciate a weekend away, too. Paying for kennel fees as well as hotels and meals can make a weekend trip far too expensive. House/pet-sitting for a weekend can be a great gift at any time of the year.

One last great idea, and one of my personal favorites, is offer a friend a free housecleaning. This can also be a great gift for older teens to offer to Mom and Dad, or to Grandma and Grampa.

If vacuuming and dusting is not an option, free snow-shoveling or lawn mowing is always appreciated.

If no teens are available or able to rake up the shovel or rake, there are many agencies or individuals who contract these services - a thoughtful gift for an older parent or neighbor.

Whatever you decide upon, you are sure to find something that will fit your pocketbook and creative abilities.

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas!

Photo from lastminutegiftideas.org
Photo from lastminutegiftideas.org

© 2010 RedElf

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27 comments

carrie450 profile image

carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

A wonderful hub you have posted RedElf with many great ides to think about.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

carrie, thanks so much. I got the ideas from some great sources ;)


cwarden profile image

cwarden 6 years ago from USA

I really like your ideas here for providing services as a gift. I have a few friends that have everything they need or want and this has given me some new ideas for them. Who wouldn't enjoy a break and a night out without worrying about the kids? Great hub - Thanks!


rsusan profile image

rsusan 6 years ago from South Africa

This is what Christmas should be all about, RedElf. Thanks for making us think about gifts from the heart.


debbiesdailyviews profile image

debbiesdailyviews 6 years ago

I so enjoyed your Hub, and thanx for posting this, as yet again, ( as I have just enjoyed another Hub on this topic )

You help us nicely to think of others at this time of year.

I love the idea frrom the cookie lady. What a lovely old fashioned thing to do.

And agree wholeheartedly on thoughts are way more omportant than big gestures.

As this is what I got from this well written Hub.

Thanx this was a great Hub. : }


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

I love the giving ideas. We sometimes forget that the best gift is the gift we give. It is always impossible to be depressed or sad when you are giving and supporting someone else. Great hub, I will focus on some gift I can give now. Thank you.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago

What a great hub! Full of wonderful ideas that we can all contribute to in some way. Thanks.


gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 6 years ago from USA

Our family has grown and we can not affors to buy that many gifts. So we make them. That is more fun and means more.

We live in the country and there are a lot of poop families here. NO jobs. So when my kids were young we knew the ones that did not have much and we would make a basket with food stuff and small gifts like, hats, gloves, coloring books and the such. We would wait till Christmas eve and leave a basket on their porch. No one ever knew it was us and we never told. It made my kids feel good to give.


gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 6 years ago from USA

You know what? I need to say this and it is not intended to be mean.

I HATE it when I take the time to read and comment, only to see that my comment has to be okayed. I take offense


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

cwarden, thanks so much. It's nice to be able to provide a treat without it costing a lot, too.

Thanks, rsusan. Sometimes a service can be so much more meaningful than anything we could afford to buy for someone. :D

Thanks so much, debbie - we love the cookie lady, too. She makes great coolies.

Thank YOU, SteveoMc! I have always found that to be true - I always receive so much more than I have given in helping someone.

gr82bme, your family truly understands the meaning of Christmas and giving from the heart. Thank you for sharing this.

gr82bme, as for your second post I am sorry you take offense. I do not intend any. Many writers here moderate their comments, though, so I do hope you will continue to read and comment on everyone's hubs that are moderated. I certainly appreciate the time you take to read and comment.

To explain: My popular and high ranking hubs are continually slammed with SPAM - non-HubPages people who pop in a comment with their links to outside websites, in hope of getting free traffic off someone else's work.

Usually, the SPAM comes up properly tagged, but often, it is the link in the name that is a problem. Many gambling and escort/sex sites try to get a free ride. They never ask, they just assume I will allow a link to their site. I refuse to put up with that.

To combat that behavior, I allow no comments until they are approved. Once the Spammers see that their comments and their links won't appear because of comment moderation, they usually give up, but I have had as many as 15 in one day on one hub...and I don't like to see spammers get ANY free time off anyone's work.

Just so you know, I never delete comments from HubPages folk - actually I have never deleted any comments except a few really profane ones that had nothing to do with the hubs on which they were posted.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Red Elf, I love this hub. Your suggestions are really wonderful and have more purpose and meaning than the typical little gift. Plus, it feels wonderful to give In some of those special situations you listed.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Great points to make as Christmas is always so commercial. I used to have my kids make up coupon books and Bob and I have even done that before. It's such a silly gift when you think about it but it really means so much. Some of the simplest gifts are truly the most treasured. Thanks for reminding us about that!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Pam! It feels wonderful and means so much more, too.

akirchner, I have a crossword puzzle book that a friend made for me. We were both very poor that year, and couldn't afford to get the newspaper, and she knew how much I enjoy doing crosswords. She saved the crossword puzzles from the newspaper at work. She cut fancy borders into colored paper, and pasted the puzzles onto them. Then she tied them into a booklet with a Christmas ribbon. It was one of the most wonderful and thoughtful presents I have ever received. I think your coupon books are great.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

RedElf you really put some wonderful ideas forward. Thank you for an enjoyable read.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hh, my friend, how nice to see you. Thank you for your comments.


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

These are really useful ideas, I will have to share this on FB so my teens and their friends can see what Christmas really means. Hey, they might even be motivated to mow their parents' lawns. Thanks RedElf.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, MPG. I really appreciate your posting this. Spread the good word ;)


susansisk profile image

susansisk 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

Great ideas! Especially liked the suggestions for presents for teens to give parents.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, susansisk! I love gifts of kind rather than cash ;)


Michael Buchman profile image

Michael Buchman 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Great ideas!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Michael. Nice of you to stop by and comment.


WriteAbout profile image

WriteAbout 6 years ago

This is a really terrific hub- some fantastic ideas. Thanks so much for sharing.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, WriteAbout. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.


rihamah profile image

rihamah 5 years ago

great hub with great ideas, thanks a lot for sharing.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, rihamah! Your hubs have some very nice ideas for Christmas, too.


BundleUp profile image

BundleUp 5 years ago from Ambler, Pa

Love this hub! Wonderful ideas for Christmas or a special event. Giving to charity is so important, especially with all that most of us have. Thanks for sharing these terrific ideas!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, BundleUp - thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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