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.
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.
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.
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.
- CCFC Gift Catalogue
This Christmas, choose gifts for your loved ones and give the ultimate gift to a child in desperate need. Whether you choose to sponsor a child or give a gift from our Gift Catalogue, your gift is certain to bring joy to Christmas.
- 630 CHED Santas Anonymous
Santas Anonymous - The goal of Santas Anonymous is to ensure every child in the city gets a gift on Christmas morning by collecting donations and delivering them to needy families.
- Samaritan's Purse Canada - Operation Christmas Child
This non-denominational international relief agency sponsors the simple, hands-on project called Christmas Child, which asks people to fill shoe boxes with a variety of gifts to bless the lives of children living in desperate circumstances
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!
© 2010 RedElf