If you remember, last month for Rudolph Day, we started discussing Christmas gifts. Let’s continue with that subject. Once you’ve chosen “who” to give a gift to, the next decision is “what” to give.

He likes to guess that every single gift is a refrigerator, or a rock, or a pair of socks. This time it really was a refrigerator!

What:

So many options! Some people will give lavish gifts and others will give home-made coupons for back rubs. You may love giving gift cards, or you may hate the idea. (Personally, I’m kind of in the middle. It’s not my preference, but sometimes it’s the best way to show love and thoughtfulness.) Knowing your budget along with your recipients likes and dislikes is important in narrowing down the many choices. Because of this, I do believe in wish lists, (another thing that you may have strong feelings about either way). I want to give gifts that I know the other person will appreciate.

Gift-giving can be simplified by having certain traditions. For years and years, we always gave Rocky Road to school teachers. It’s a family tradition to take cookies to our neighbors. Some people give their children just three gifts – something to wear, something to play with, and something to read.

Just this week I was reminded that of the many Christmas gifts I received from my parents as a child, I really only remember two or three. (If I didn’t have the above picture, there’s no way I would remember what I received that year!)

One was a purple record player. Don’t ask me why I remember that one; maybe it was something I really, really wanted and never thought I’d get.

Another was a green velveteen jacket. I hated it. It might have been a bit better if I had received the blue one instead of my sister. However, I never told my mom that. I knew she had put a lot of time and thought into choosing something that was “in style” at our high school. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it wasn’t quite right. Because of that experience, it’s difficult for me to give clothing as a gift (here’s where gift cards work), unless I’m positive the style, color and fit are what the receiver wants. It’s good to learn that it really is the thought that counts, because sometimes, in spite of our good intentions, gifts do backfire. I’m grateful I learned that lesson.

The third was probably given as a card or coupon, because the gift was a sewing class at Sears. I was ten, and my mom felt it was time for me to learn how to sew, but she didn’t feel she had the time or patience to teach me herself, so she arranged for these lessons. I’m sure I was a bit anxious about the first class, but once I got over that, I absolutely loved the lessons, and I loved even more what I learned from them.

Some of the very first dresses I sewed for myself, along with the family’s matching “hiking” shirts.

Tangible gifts are great, especially ones that say “I’m thinking about you and I love you” whenever the recipient uses them. However, “experience gifts” are a wonderful thing to consider, particularly if you involve yourself personally in them.

For a period of time, my in-laws’ Christmas gift to their children was a cruise every few years. I’ve already heard rumors that our children are waiting for us to start that tradition.

What are some of your favorite gifts to give? What are some of the memorable ones you’ve received?

One of our children’s favorite things to do in December was to count and sort the gifts under the tree. Is it one of your traditions?

This is a beautiful article on Three Gifts to Give at Christmas. Definitely food for thought. Just in case you don’t have time to read the entire thing, the author begins by sharing “three essential kinds of things that must accompany a gift given at Christmas” as stated by Elder Orson F. Whitney on Christmas Day 1906. They are:

  1. The gift should not impoverish the giver.
  2. The gift should be appropriate.
  3. The gift should be given ungrudgingly.

That’s some great counsel. However, if you make the time to read the whole article, I think you’ll be glad you did.