This time of year, most people’s thoughts turn to giving gifts. And don’t get us wrong, we love giving and getting presents. Especially since the Christmas season is about celebrating God giving us his most precious gift for our sake. But a lot of times, what we’re giving is just “stuff.” We know people appreciate it, but we’ve found some of the best gifts over the years are the ones that have personal significance.
So, maybe this year, instead of adding to the clutter, why not give the gift of great memories?
The Gift of Hospitality
There are a lot of lonely people in the world, and it can be especially poignant this time of year, when the majority of us are spending time with family. When you’re alone, even overhearing someone else talking about it, can become painful. It’s not intentional, but oftentimes, wrapped up in our own world of the stress of party planning, we forget that. But consider the old adage, “the more the merrier.” Host an open house, and let everyone know they’re welcome, even to stop by for a few minutes.
Don’t assume everyone has other plans, make an effort to remember and invite people who might otherwise be alone for the holidays to join you for Christmas dinner, or even just Christmas Eve services. A little kindness goes a long way.
The Gift of a Personal Touch
Growing up, almost all of us had one of those years where we gave handmade gifts to our family members. Handmade gifts can be cheaper, but are imbued with extra love because you made it personally for your loved one. You can craft homemade candles, jewelry, even the classic knitted sweater or baby booties. It’s a great way to contribute to their positive memory bank.
The Gift of Deliciousness
In the same way, if you’re good in the kitchen, food is a wonderful gift to share. Homemade jams or preserves, candy or cookies are all welcome options. Or get a little more creative and try some less traditional foods like candied orange peel, roasted nut mixes, homemade marshmallows, apple butter, pickled vegetables, popcorn balls, or chocolate bark.
If you’re not a whiz in the kitchen, how about making baking jars? You look up some recipes online and carefully measure out all the ingredients into mason jars. Hand write the recipe instructions on a half a 3×5 card, decorate and tie it to the neck of the jar. Voilà!
The Gift of the Great Outdoors
Between video games and big screen TV’s, most of us find ourselves spending more and more time inside than out. So why not give someone rock climbing lessons, a visit to the hot springs, a gym membership, kayaking or camping vouchers? Or take it one step further and make it a family or friend outing? Spend the day in Myakka River State Park, see the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, or even drive down to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.
The Gift of a Night Out
Want another great gift option that builds memories instead of taking up shelf space? How about tickets to a show? It doesn’t have to be Hamilton or the new U2 tour. See a local theater or dance production. Give tickets to one of our great museums: Ringling, Mote Marine, or the Classic Car Museum. And don’t necessarily go alone. Expose your kids to culture besides watching PBS and they’ll thank you later.
Another option is to help your friends with kids. Why not get them movie passes or a treat them to a dinner out? Cover the cost of a babysitter – or better yet, volunteer to be the babysitter yourself and grow the bond you have with their whole family.
The Gift of Giving Back
As we remember the ways we are blessed, consider sharing that blessing with those less fortunate. This can take many forms – the whole family can volunteer to serve meals at the local food kitchen, collect or deliver donations to needy families and children stuck in the hospital over the holidays. Some families have even opted to take the money they’d spend on gifts for each other and donating it to a local charity.
For a more global impact, consider donating to charities that help fund clean water wells, provide cookstoves to third world families, or livestock in a person’s name. You can also donate to purchase and preserve rainforests and nature preserves. There are even charities that will let you buy down a person’s carbon footprint.
Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we are big fans of the “going green” movement. We were even early adopters, using 100% all-natural pest control methods that are safe and effective, and often cheaper – saving our customers some of that other green.
We hope whatever you choose to give this Christmas season, you’ll take a moment to reflect on the joy of the season and the Good News that the shepherds took to their neighbors in Bethlehem– good tidings of great joy, for born to you, this day, in the City of David, is the Savior who is Christ the Lord.