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Posted on Dec 18, 2006 at 01:29 AM

Many people will soon be celebrating the Christmas holiday and give gifts to others in honor of the birth of Christ Jesus. While I believe we are to always give to others (the word give is used more times in the Holy Bible than the words love, hope or faith), I don't believe we are supposed to go into debt in order to do so or condone greediness or support materialism. There are numerous other ways of giving to those you love and care about, by giving them gifts from your heart or giving them gifts that won't stress your finances. Give a gift of a service that you provide. Make coupons to give others or write a nice note expressing your intent. Make it personal and something you know they would like.Write someone a short poem. Run an errand for an elderly neighbor or relative, give your spouse a quiet night alone while you watch the children. Babysit for your sister or brother. Cook a meal for a friend-male or female.Give a gift of washing someone's car-once or several times. Give a coupon to make a cake for a friend for the next bake sale they have to supply a cake for. Or a cake for a special occaission. Give a coupon good for doing laundry, or housework. Give a coupon for a homecooked candlelight romantic dinner. Or one for cleaning the garage, or mowing the lawn, or a picnic for 2 or 4 in the summer. Or one to teach someone to cook a favorite recipe, or a coupon to plant a garden, or shovel snow from their sidewalk and driveway. Or one to clean their gutters or write a letter for someone who has difficulty writing. And be sure to ask them when they would like the service performed. If they don't give a time, be sure to follow up at a later date to provide the service. For a teen or child one could give a coupon for a slumber party with drinks and popcorn. Or a coupon good for an extra hour added to their curfew time, a free room cleaning, or getting to sleep in on a day they usually have to get up and do chores. Other ideas are a coupon good for a movie rental, game rental or a long distance phone call of so many minutes. Or make a gift-homemade cookies,cakes,breads,cheeseball with nuts,or fudge. Make heating pads out of tube socks filled with rice, then secured the end with a knot. Just pop in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and you have a great heating pad that will conform to just about anywhere. Make bath salts or homemade playdough for kids. There's all sorts of inexpensive homemade gifts one can make. Give to strangers as well as those you know. Give encouragement and motivation.Give compliments.Give smiles and good cheer.Visit some elderly folks in a nursing home.Make them postcards out of the fronts of old cards to bring them. Some elderly folks have no family to visit them and really enjoy the company. Write a letter to a missionary Send a card to a soldier overseas. But the very best thing I think anyone can give to others as well as receive, is one that is free-the gift of love. Let others know you care, and thank them just for being. I wish everyone a safe,joyful, healthy and loving holiday season no matter what holiday you are celebrating or even if you are not celebrating at all.

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Posted on Dec 18, 2006 at 09:43 PM

Beautifully and well said, Wanda. Seems like we get so panicked at the end of the year...the dread of Xmas and all the pressures of finding the "right" gift. A gift, a service, a kind thought...whatever it is...the whole point is sharing the warmth of love. Nowadays, I rarely give bought Christmas gifts. Not only do I think stores overprice their merchandise during this time (and the fact that I'm not a big fan of overcrowded mega stores), but I give gifts to loved ones when I am moved to do so. I don't want to do it b/c I'm "supposed" to do it. Not b/c of over commercialized and marketed holidays. I'm not against others doing it. I think everyone has his/her own way of demonstrating their holiday spirit. I just choose not to, I guess. Instead, I often give handmade gifts or coupons (to do things together) demonstrating my love for family and friends. Just spent all day last Saturday with my cousin baking butter cookies, sugar cookies, pound cakes, chocolate fudge pudding cakes, cream puffs (for immediate distribution to family...lol), and we ended the day by making popovers to consume right away with loads of butter as a reward. (Yum! Mouth is just watering remembering BUTTERY popovers melting in my mouth. Drooling.) Ee gads...I'll work it off next week (or so I told myself). LOL!!! To me, this is how I best enjoy spending the holidays and sharing in the warmth of it. Happy Holidays, everyone! :D May your Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, and New Year's be filled with much love! Lovingly, My furball and moi

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