You cannot buy love. When you get a present for someone that you do not know, realizing you will not see him or her open it, that is love. If you take some of your limited budget to make a stranger happy during the giving season, you equal the concern behind the widow’s mite, a love so great that it is recorded in the Bible. This year, more than many years past, you can make a happier Christmas for many people.
One of the nicest parts is that the cost can be minimal. Make use of your talents when thinking of these gifts.
Soft, light, lap blankets and shawls
Do you knit or crochet? Look for soft, airy yarn at the thrift store, and make an open pattern shawl or lap blanket. Old bones tend to ache, and some patterns and yarns are too heavy for the recipient. Years ago I purchased a dainty yarn with multitexture, and created a lovely shawl for a friend’s friend who was in the final stages of life. It kept her warm, without adding discomfort as it sat about her shoulders. Before she passed on, she requested that the shawl be given to another lady in the same facility. It was the best gift I ever made or gave.
I can hear some of you thinking that perhaps what you make is not good enough. Stop that thought, please. When a person is cold, warmth is welcomed and appreciated. Air conditioning has the same effect as a cold wind on many people, so this gift is good no matter where you live.
Slippers and socks
These can be knitted, crocheted, sewn, or purchased. Feet, like shoulders and knees, tend to feel the cold more quickly than the rest of the body. Some people are very creative when making slippers and socks; I usually watch for good deals on non-binding, soft stockings and comfortable slippers. There should be some sales soon.
Small, easy-to-open plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash are always welcome. You can often find packages with several items at the Dollar Store and at Walgreen’s for a good price. A small basket or crocheted fling bag is a wonderful place to put them. Do you like talking to people, and making a bargain? If you can verify what you are planning to do, some of the larger chain hotels might let you have some of the toiletries they put out for guests.
I usually find a request for aftershave or cologne on the angel tag. I watch for WalMart, Macy’s, or Penney’s to have a sale on the small sets, and make several gifts from one package.
I’ve found that the magic gloves are wonderful. They are inexpensive and one size really does fit all. WalMart often sells them in packs of two for a dollar.
A $5 card for WalMart, Target, or any fast food restaurant in your area is always useful. Cat food, a magazine, dog biscuits, a McDouble: those gift cards can do a lot. If the local grocery store has gift cards, that is another option.
Are you qualified to do repairs on sinks, tubs, toilets, disposals, or change a light bulb? Can the kids handle a snow shovel with the best of them? Is there someone that can help a senior winterize the outside faucets and lines? If you are aware that your neighbor needs some help and you can do it, bless you for it. Tell them it is an early holiday gift. If you aren’t aware of anyone needing help, check with the local churches. The pastor will generally be aware of his parishioners needs. We used to visit our cousin when he was a minister in Kings Beach, CA many years ago. The day would be spent going from home to home fixing the things the elderly residents had no means to get fixed. Their gratitude was warm and real.
Baked Goods and shelled nuts
One year, we had a bumper crop of walnuts, apples, and pumpkins. We made muffins of apples and pumpkins, and pumpkin cookies. The whole family shelled walnuts as we watched television. The kids had a contest tossing shells into the woodstove. What a great hand/eye coordination exercise! We sent the goodies and five pounds of shelled walnuts via United Parcel Service to the relatives scattered about the country. The gifts were well received and much appreciated.
These are my favorite suggestions. Put on your thinking cap for more. Thank you for bringing happiness to many this holiday season.
The above is the original work of the author, based on experience gained from volunteering, caring, and concern about our fellow beings on Earth.