You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:7, NLT
We’ve had lean years in our family where we’ve opted to either make gifts or buy from thrift stores and garage sales. One year, we did things for each other. My eldest, Sophie, and I painted my youngest daughter Julia’s bedroom and redecorated (repurposed) it. Sophie and I also created a shadow box for my son Aidan with all his treasures from a trip to Ghana. It’s amazing to me that my kids remember these types of gifts over the trinkets we spend more money on.
But there are more reasons for giving homemade gifts. A knitted scarf from a friend reminds me that she took lots of time preparing something for me. A notebook of prayers prayed (written) on my behalf humbles me and makes me realize the beauty of giving of ourselves, of sacrificing for the sake of another.
In light of that, you may be thinking, what could I possibly make that people would want? Here are some ideas:
- • As my friend did, write out your prayers for a friend or family member for a period of two weeks to a month.
- • Offer to babysit for a harried mother over the holidays. She will love this gift!
- • Create spice mixes by buying spices in bulk, mixing them yourself, then packaging them in dollar store containers. (Ideas: Italian, Mexican, Pie spice, etc.)
- • Create drink mixes (Italian hot chocolate, mint hot chocolate, Russian tea.)
- • Create cookie or cake mixes. (Like the above, search the Internet for easy recipes.)
- • Compile all your recipes, then print them on cardstock, cut them into recipe cards, and give them as a gift. You can see my example here.
- • Write out your family history, or transcribe old family letters into a book.
- • Cull through your best photos from the year and create a hardbound book for family members.
- • Use your craftiness as a way to bless others. Knit scarves, sew blankets, paint pictures.
- • Consider going to a painting party where an instructor walks you through a painting. Then give that painting as a gift. You can do this, too, with ceramics painting.
- • Give a plate of homemade goodies to teachers and friends. Include recipe cards.
- • Give anonymously. Pay for the person behind you in line at Starbucks, or pay the toll of the car behind you. Though this isn’t technically creating something, it sure feels great to receive it! (And it is a gift from the heart).
- • Give your skill as a gift. Are you a dog groomer? Then offer to groom your friends’ dog for free. Hairdresser? Donate your expertise to a homeless shelter.
- • Make cards and stationary from your favorite, prized photos. (You can also create t-shirts, mugs, calendars, and so much more!)
The gifts you create this Christmas are only limited by your ability to conjure them. Which brings us to Jesus, the Author of ourselves. He created us in His image to be like Him. And He is generous. He gives good gifts to His children. He surprises us daily with Him gifts. He, the Creator of the Universe, is wildly creative, wholly unexpected. While you create gifts for family and friends, stop to think about God’s creative abilities, His surprising gifts.
Jesus, thank You for being an example of homemade gifts. Thanks for giving me my home, my family, my life. Help me to focus on Your extravagant giving as I seek for ways to bless my family and friends. Lord, give me good ideas for gifts I can create.