Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Special Christmas Gifts Come from the Hands - and the Heart

For me, a Christmas gift doesn't need to be a purchased item to be "great." I have mentioned before some of the home made gifts we've given to others, and what has been done for us. Often it is the time, love and effort put into the gift that makes it so special: my mother-in-law's fudge, for example. I hate to stand, stirring at the stove for so long but how I love to eat it! My friend Beth's cozy, toasty knee socks - made three years ago, worn almost daily in the cold months as I skate over my wood floors in them, still going strong. I don't knit, but am a huge fan of her knitting! My mother's singing - she is one of the top voices in the world, as far as I go. She could go pro, but has decided to use that talent to bless others and honed her other talents to earn a living. Which brings me to what I'd LOVE for the children to receive for Christmas this year (never mind that she has already beat me to it and purchased things for them - this gift would be a great add-on!)

If my mother were to take a digital recorder (you can get them for $50 - $100 at Radio Shack, where my brother can buy it for her at a discount... hint, hint!) or a tape recorder and sing some of the songs I grew up with for my kids to have for later (and who am I kidding? For ME to have for later too!) That would be a lasting gift that will never fade away, if properly cared for!

What songs would she include...? Daisy, (I Like To) Catch Brass Rings, old summer camp songs from Camp St. Alban's, her part of the Hallelujah Chorus, I know she has more - she's had a running list of "what to include" on her refrigerator since 2007 (!) Wipe the dust off, Ma and sing on! Or, if you run out of songs to sing, how about some of those wonderful and funny childhood stories you've told? My kids LOVE those - and so do I!

And how about from my niece, who is said to be a wonderful cook: a hand-drawn recipe book with some of the "family faves" would save her money and suit me just fine! I'd bet her aunt and uncle and grandma on her mother's side would be happy with that too!

From my brother, who takes mah-velous family portraits: (what else??) New family portraits for me to share around, please!

We'll be there for Thanksgiving; I'll bring nice clothes for all of us and huge smiles!

For you all in the Tacoma/Seattle (Washington) area, I'm putting in a little plug for my brother here - he has been s-l-o-w-l-y building his photography and portraiture business over the last four or five years. He is phenomenal with kids (has seven of his own, so it just figures!) and getting them comfortable and smiley-happy. He could use a boost if you know anyone in the Seattle/Tacoma area who would like some done, spread the word, eh? (Okay, clearly I need to get him to get on the ball for posting his stuff outside of Facebook! But I'm sure he would be happy to send samples if you'd like!) Anyway, he's awesome at photography and reasonably priced. (He didn't take the one at left - I did - and that's why I need someone else until my skills improve!) If I did the link correctly, you can see some of his photos here.

From my brother-in-law, he makes yummy cookies :9 We would never turn those down!

I know it looks like I'm using this post to ask for things - gimme, gimme, gimme - but really, what I'm looking to do is get people thinking about those things that we each have our own unique talent for, and encourage the use of those talents to bless others at the time that we honor Christ's birth. The "season" is truly about loving, sharing, visiting, and blessing those we love. The gifts Jesus was given by the Wise Men were blessings as well as portents to His future here on Earth and I am working, within myself, to recall the spirit of those three gifts in the blessings that I give to those around me. A home-cooked meal, a hand-made book, goodies, things we can use, things that I know the recipient will love... blessings all.

When I was younger, we never knew what to get my mom and so would end up getting her the little boxes of jewelry sold in between the counters at the department stores. The only worse thing we could have purchased for her would have been make-up! Little did we know (and she never told us) that small jewelry pieces don't look right on a larger woman. When I left home, she packed up much of that old junk-jewelry and passed it on to me; I have since passed quite a bit of it on to the young lady down the road. The gifts we give should show that we are really considering the person receiving the gift: what do they want or need, what will bless them - what will "curse" them with a future of, "so-and-so gave it to us, we can't use it/don't care for it, but we can't give it away because so-and-so bought it for us."

On the rare occasion that I can't give a gift that I really feel will be a boon and a blessing to the person, not just more of life's clutter, I purchase a card and give money to a charity in that person's name. In the card, I explain that I just didn't see anything that I felt would bless them more than to bless someone else in their honor.

I suppose instead of just "asking" for things, I could say what we're giving out for Christmas... but that would ruin the secret, wouldn't it??


  1. I understand what you are doing, don't worry. You want Christmas to be more about heartfelt giving, than just buying something at a store because it's expected. I must warn you though ... your family is expanding beyond my ability to knit! Sure I can't teach you the basics of it?

  2. You've taught me the basics three times - until the youngest is old enough to not unravel everything, I am not sure I'll be able to work at it enough to retain it. Well, knitting aside, how about just coming and helping make dinner every so often?

  3. Just to correct the record, I did wear the jewelry from time to time! And I always appreciated anything you guys gave me - even if I did use it to ultimately bless someone else :-)


I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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