Many people in my circle are “bookworms”. But some people out there are non-bookworms.
Some people love everything to do with books, and you could make a placemat from a doctoral thesis and they’ll pretty much swoon.
Other people would look at your word-covered gloves and go, “Huh?”
But Christmas is coming, and in ritual celebration of the gift of God’s Own Son (Jesus) EVERYONE deserves a gift!
This list is for those people…those dear ones in your lives that don’t share quite your enthusiasm for all things paper and folded-in-half:
Hand-made Art Gifts
Granted you probably should have started this back in July if you want to get it down for this year, especially if you’re like me and your projects tend to balloon bigger and bigger as time goes on. But it can still be super fun to try your hand at, and let’s face it: your mother won’t care, because you made it, and therefore it’s beautiful.
Maybe you don’t knit – try something else. I have instructions for making your very own shoe-shelf out of a log 😉! It’s the thought that counts, and people do appreciate honest effort!
Some people aren’t as obsessed with the whole “reading” thing as other people are. There are still loads of amazing stories that they can enjoy in a couple hours, and with minimal mental effort!
For instance, there are several Pixar films I still don’t own for myself (hint, hint).
Best of all, you can watch the movie together, making it “relational” experience, and then talk about the worldview, character development, and theological themes of the movie with your friends afterwards. Because everybody does that, right?
Okay, okay, this one is really specific, and you have to be very careful about where you give it.
My dad signed himself and my mom up for ballroom dancing one year as a gift, and they had a lot of fun with it. No, they’re not tearing up the night at fancy social events now, but it was special time they spent together – and that’s the real gift.
I could totally see a mother and daughter going to a barn dance together, or two friends of the same gender decide they need to learn what “polka” means. Line dancing doesn’t need a specific “partner”, either.
And if people look at you funny, well, that’s their problem, not yours!
(This also works for concert tickets, play/movie tickets, or sports events tickets. Do your homework so you’ll know what they’ll enjoy…and what’s in their area.)
When in doubt, here’s a standard fall-back that never fails. Cookies, little cakes, banana or pumpkin breads, pies, the sky’s the limit! Those cute cookie-mix-in-a-glass-jar kits are also a great idea. My mom recently received cinnamon-pancake mix in a festive towel — you get the idea!
Of course, like Number 1, it always means more when it’s homemade, but I think even if you have to run to the store on your way to the party, the gift-ee will appreciate that you were thinking of them.
And if you’re worried about allergies but can’t tactfully ask, just make the gift-wrap easy to replace, so they can pass it along at their next get-together. Hey, you saved them the trouble of finding a gift for that event they don’t know what to bring to!
(GUY TIP: bacon, jerky, etc. Give ’em meat, they’re happy.)
These can easily be cliché and boring, but it’s still possible to have fun with these. Maybe add a funny cover letter, put it in an extra-special Christmas card, or stick in a selling guide so they can find what they want on sale (because I love sales…).
If you’re hosting, you can even hide the gift card somewhere in the house and create a note-to-note treasure hunt for them to find it (for years, the treasure hunt was my preferred method of wrapping all my gifts to my family).
Also, if you take the time to find out what they really enjoy, then get them a gift card that might not be obvious but is exactly what they want, they’ll appreciate the time and effort that went into it. When “it’s the thought that counts”, if it’s obvious the thought was deliberate, even a small, inexpensive gift can be precious.
My aunt and uncle have done this a few years, and it’s a great idea – especially for inhabitants of the First World who have everything we need already.
Maybe you’ll give money toward a well in Africa, or buy some Bibles for Christians in South Asia, or support Bible Translation efforts somewhere in the world, or support families displaced by ISIS – in honor of the gift-ee.
So instead of receiving more clutter in their house, they receive the encouragement that the cause of Christ is moving forward, helped by your generosity. For the right recipient, this could mean the world.
For the rest of us more selfish souls, it’s an important reminder and a helpful prod. 😉😊
(Check out Charity Navigator to make sure your receiving organization will use your support wisely, and check out Wycliffe Associates to support accelerated Bible translation, done by native-speaking Christians.)
Not just any t-shirts. Super awesome funny t-shirts! My personal favorite is the UnStealthiest Ninja series by DoOomCat. Look closely at my official author pic! But there’s lots of choices out there for all your gifting needs, no matter what fandom your gift-recipient ascribes to!
If you’re going to an actual white elephant exchange, the possibilities are endless! Not only can you go old-school, and select something of your own that could give joy to a new owner, but we’ve had some great fun over the years with other things:
- Fuzzy blanket (useful and surprisingly attractive)
- Fake mustaches (the stick-on kind; very popular)
- Big box of beef jerky (for the men in our lives)
- Scented candles (never misses, trust me)
- Plunger (BRAND NEW AND UNUSED, of course!)
Maybe you’re not going to a “gift exchange” party, but if the person you have in mind has a good sense of humor, these might still work!
Final Tip: Actually Talk to Them and FIND OUT WHAT THEY LIKE!
I know. Leave your ivory palace of imaginary friends, forge out into the real world of scary Human Beings, have an actual conversation that can’t be edited later, and get to know someone you can’t get rid of by just slamming the book shut! Scary!
Well, hey…Jesus put on a body and hung out with us stinky humans. I guess, in His honor, I’ll do the same…and try to get them something they’ll love – not just that I think they should love.
Any tips for us? What do you hope to get – or wait, what do you look forward to giving?
She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by writing novels…and knitting hats, crocheting afghans, baking cookies, and other excuses for getting out of gardening.