Last month I explained a bit about how we determine our Christmas budget each year. Since the highest proportion of that is spent on purchasing gifts, I figured that would be a good topic for this month. Let’s divide it into Who, What, When, Where and Why.
Gift Giving: Who
Everybody’s list will be different, and it may even change from year to year, but I imagine we can all agree that most people want to give gifts to members of their immediate household. Even if they’re no longer living together, parents and children will also be on the list. That’s what we do.
As our circle expands to siblings and cousins, and then co-workers, neighbors, school teachers, hair dressers and bus drivers, it gets a bit more complicated. You may put these people on some gift-giving lists and not on others. A lot of our list depends upon our individual resources, of both time and money.
For example, over the years we’ve gone from giving gifts to each of our siblings, to having a rotation schedule, to abolishing gifts and just sending a card. Traditions are wonderful, but you can also modify them.
Now that our children our adults, they’ve also chosen to put a gift rotation into place. However, when they were young, I felt it was important that each one of them give a gift to every other sibling. It didn’t have to cost a lot of money, but I wanted them to take the time to think about what would make their siblings happy, to give them their favorite candy bar, not their own favorite.
Next, as I pondered a bit on whether these Rudolph Day posts were beneficial to me and others or just a distraction, I remembered that the purpose of them is to help me remember Jesus Christ year-round. Consequently, that reminded me that our Savior is definitely someone who should be on the gift-giving list. Understandably, it’s kind of difficult to give a physical object to him, but for several years our family had the tradition of giving him a gift of service.
As part of our Christmas Eve activities, we each take a moment to fill out a 3×5 card with something we would do throughout the upcoming year as our gift to the Savior. We would actually fill out two cards; one we kept individually (often as a scripture bookmark) and we put the other in a sealed envelope. Afterwards, we saved those in a secure place and then wrapped the next year (along with a reminder to read John 3:16, and often with a new nativity set), to be opened and reviewed on Christmas Eve before writing our new goals and repeating the process.
Once I started on the “what” of gift giving, I realized that each of these sub-categories needs their own post, and that’s fine. However, you’ll have to wait a month for the next one. At least I already have the topic chosen.
Christmas Gift Giving Ideas
P.S. I found some articles I wanted to share to help with brainstorming ideas for Christmas gift giving. I hope you enjoy them!
1) First, my son has done a wonderful job explaining their gift-giving process. You can find his post here.
3) If you don’t think you can remember a year-long gift, here’s an idea
for a simple “12 Days of Christmas” gift to the Savior.
4) Finally, here’s a story shared by Spencer W. Kimball. Although I’ve yet to do it, I do love the idea of making a birthday cake for Jesus.
A BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR THE LORD
“Aren’t you making a cake, mother?” asked the 4-year-old as she saw her mother making preparations for the Christmas dinner.
“No, darling. Why?”
The little girl said: “We ought to have a cake today, a birthday cake. This is Jesus’ birthday, and
we ought to have a birthday cake for Him.”
The hours passed and the grandparents came in, and all the family enjoyed the birthday cake for
Jesus. “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. . !’
In one of the stakes of Zion lives a family who also believes in a birthday for Jesus. It was on
April 6, 1955; and as they gave to me a crisp $50 bill, they said, “Today is the Lord’s birthday. We
always give gifts to our family members on their birthdays. We should like to give a gift to the
Will you place this money where it will please the Redeemer most?”
Two days later, Sister Kimball and I were on our way to Europe for a six-month’s tour of all the
missions. As we made hasty and extensive preparations, we kept thinking about the birthday gift en-
trusted to us and then the thought came to us that perhaps in Europe we would find the most appreciative recipient.
For months we toured the mission, held meetings with the missionaries and Saints, and met
many wonderful folks. There were numerous opportunities to present the gift, for the majority of
the Saints over there could use extra funds. But we waited. Toward the end of the mission tour we met a little woman in Germany. She was a widow; or was she? For she had been alone with her family of children for 10 years. Whether her husband was deceased or not she did not know. A victim of World War II, he had disappeared and no word had ever come from him. It was said that he was
behind the Iron Curtain. The little folks who were but children when he was taken away were now
near grown, and the son was a full-time missionary among his German people.
It was nearing the time of the temple dedication at Bern, Switzerland. I said to this good woman, “Are you going to the temple dedication?” I saw the disappointment in her eyes as she said how she
would like to go but how impossible it was because of lack of finances.
“Here is the place for the gift” was the thought which rooted itself in my mind.
I quietly checked with the mission president as to her worthiness and the appropriateness of her going to the temple; and then I gave to him half of the gift, which he assured me would pay the actual bus transportation to Bern and return.
A few weeks later we were in southern France. . . . We were one hour late for our meeting at Nice.
It was a hot night. The building was filled to capacity. A woman sat at the piano, entertaining this
large crowd until our arrival. For one hour she had played. I was embarrassed for our delay and so
grateful to her for what she had done to hold the group and entertain them that I inquired concerning her. Her husband, a professor, had died not long ago and the widow was making a meager living through her musical talents. She was a rather recent convert. Her mission president and the elder
assured me that she was worthy and deserving so I left with her mission president to be given to her,
the other half of the Saviour’s gift.
We completed our mission tours . . . and finally journeyed to Bern for the dedication service of the Swiss Temple.
The prophet of the Lord, President David O. McKay, was present with three of the
apostles. After the glorious dedication meetings were over, the regular temple services were conducted in the various languages. As I assisted the French Saints in their session, I was conscious of the little musician; and she literally beamed as she was enjoying the Saviour’s birthday gift. She had used it to pay for her transportation to the temple. Her eyes shone with a new luster; her step was
lighter; she radiated joy and peace as she came through the temple with new light, new hope. And
I whispered to myself, “Thank the Lord for good folks who remember the Redeemer on His birthday.”