Help! I Don’t Know What to Give for Christmas

By: Margie

This article was originally published in Alianza Cristiana (Christian Alliance Magazine), by Margie Hord.  She has re-released it today for publication here.  Margarita (Margie) Hord de Méndez, is Honduran born Canadian, naturalized Mexican, mother to 2 children and grandmother to 4.   La Leche League Leader for 20 plus years and Founder of La Leche League in Puebla, México.  Linguist, studying indigenous languages, teacher, writer, translator.  Currently residing in Puebla, México.   




Help!  I Don’t Know What to Give for Christmas   

by Margarita Hord de Méndez   


Relax!  First of all, nobody who really loves you will hate you for not receiving a Christmas present from you.  After all, it’s said “It’s the thought that counts”.  During the holiday season some families make an effort to be generous with their family and friends, but the reality is that we often go overboard spending our Christmas bonuses or maxing out credit cards.  We then suffer the consequences come January and beyond.  Let’s look at some ways to be creative while simplifying things so that purchasing Christmas presents doesn’t turn into too heavy a burden.   


In most homes it’s customary to exchange presents, but sometimes families play secret Santa. Everybody drops clues about what they would like to get — just in case their secret Santa is listening.  In other cases there is some sort of raffle with numbers; presents are classified based on gender and age.  There is also a fun game in which everybody takes turn choosing a present, and the person who follows in turn has the option to “steal” the present that someone else has already opened if it’s something they would like rather than taking one from the pile (White Elephant).  There is a limit of how many times a present can be “stolen”.  Three times is typical.  So, if you’re the third person taking that present, it’s yours to keep.   


When the extended family is large, you can consider giving a group present.  For example, you can bake brownies or cookies, or a recipe of colorful popcorn with peanuts and candy.  Maybe you know how to make granola with dry fruit; cranberries would add some nice color to it.  There are also some very affordable calendars with Bible verses that you could purchase, and those are an all year present.  You could also give pictures as a present – perhaps from the last Christmas – to make them into a small photo album.   


Are you good at making things with your hands?  Make some cross stitch, or some Christmas ornaments or doilies.  You can also crochet some scarves or slippers.  Make some felt Christmas stockings.  If you have some little girls on your list, you can make some clothing for their dolls or maybe your husband knows how to make doll beds with wood.  Do you know how to make jewelry?  Pay attention to your friends’ favorite colors and the kind of necklaces and earrings they wear, then, surprise them!   


You can give small individual presents like hand lotion, soaps or scented candles.  Everybody needs socks or underwear, although a touch of humor might be a nice addition.  Many women would be grateful if you were to give them a box of assorted flavored tea (Tisain).  Maybe a small potted plant with aromatic herbs, aloe, a cactus, or whatever other plant would be welcomed.  A cup full of candy and nuts is never frowned upon.  For the kitchen, small things like spoons or measuring cups, sandwich containers, wooden spoons, silverware and many more are always helpful.  For the office, colorful paperclips or colorful sticky notes are also always welcome (steal them and regift!).   


Go to your favorite Christian bookstore.  Perhaps “that special one” would enjoy a good book, a pocket New Testament, or a CD.  These days you can find many little knickknacks with nice legends, like pictures, smocks or even cups and bookmarks.  There is also jewelry with special symbolic shapes and even ties for men.   


Do you truly have no time or money to buy presents?  Don’t worry; make a small card with a nice thought for that special person.  If it has been a long time since you talked to him (or her), give him a call or pay him a visit…for example, the day after Christmas when everything has calmed down.  If you’d like, bring them some fruit or candy.  And if somebody is in the hospital, they would love to have somebody coming to sing Christmas carols or to be surprised with a poinsettia.   


Ah! And don’t forget to show your loved ones how much you love them…and how much Christ loves them!   


2 Responses to “Help! I Don’t Know What to Give for Christmas”
  1. Dan December 8, 2010 at 10:00 pm #


    Nice ideas – a little different than the very commercial gift guides you tend to see. The other gift I really like to give is books. I find picking out the right book for each person a lot of fun and people seem to enjoy getting them.

  2. Alex December 10, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    Good article… another thing to consider is shopping at your local stores which compete with the larger corporate box stores during the holidays. Local gift shops and even antique dealers might have just the perfect gift for your loved ones. I really like to plan my gifts out so I’m done and there’s no scrambling at the last minute. I did that for too many years in the past and it always felt like my heart wasn’t in it, which is probably the most important aspect when giving a gift of any sort on any occasion.

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