This year, we’re hoping to begin the switch as Christian women from buying consumer-oriented gifts, to buying Christmas gifts that are meaningful to the one receiving them and those of us giving them. Our guess is, you’re just as burnt out trying to buy meaningless Christmas gifts as you are receiving them!
And guess what…
The National Retail Federation has estimated that holiday spending this year will be up 4% from last year, which sounds like a small number at first… until you break it down.
I don’t know about you, but that feels like a rather big chunk of change. And many of those dollars go to gifts that are, well, less than meaningful, if we’re being honest.
If you’re ready to add meaning to your gift giving this guide will provide everything you need. We’ve divided the post into six sections you can easily skip to by clicking the links below.
As Christians, there is a multi-faceted tradition for our gift-giving.
Giving gifts shouldn’t just be about finding the best deal, or giving the biggest, most expensive gift we can find. Gathering with our loved ones and handing them a gift is an act of remembrance.
Remembering the first Christmas, when the wise men traveled and gave gifts to the newborn King.
that newborn King was Jesus, our Messiah, the gift to the world that none of us deserved.
Remembering that baby Jesus would grow, and the God-man would die on a cross, defeating Satan, sin and death.
Then, remembering that Jesus was raised from the grave, and in Jesus’s resurrection life, we have new life. A life of purpose, and a life of meaning.
There is no gift that compares to the gift of Jesus giving us new life, but it certainly should influence how we give gifts nonetheless.
So today, we’re going to take some time exploring how your can infuse purpose back into gift-giving this season.
Together, let’s discover how giving meaningful gifts can go beyond deals at Bath & Body Works into something a bit more purposeful.
If you know other people in your family or friend group that are trying to do Christmas a bit different this year, share this list with them, and talk about ways you can infuse more meaning into your gift-giving together.
Two Rules for Meaningful Gifts
My first rule for meaningful gift-giving is demonstrating that you know the person you’re giving to. I mean, really know them.
Meaningful gift-giving should take some thought, maybe even a bit of planning! This goes completely against our buy-now, buy-more, buy-quick culture, but it is completely in-line with the intentionality of Jesus.
Jesus knew the people He was around. And yeah, Jesus is God so there’s a little extra advantage there, but we would still do well to heed Jesus’ example of sitting down with people, sharing a meal, looking them in the eyes, asking them good questions, and getting to know them at a heart level.
My second rule for meaningful gift-giving is a bit more touch-and-go, but the rule is this: try and buy gifts that are any of these things –
- locally made,
- fair trade,
- made by my own hands, or
- an experience that can be enjoyed together.
Perhaps a more succinct way of looking at this rule is to do my best to avoid buying items that display a lack of thought in consumption.
Here’s what I mean by this:
- How many of us have received a gift that ended up either in the trash or given to Goodwill within the month?
I’m raising my hand here too friends! And this goes right back to the first rule, and our overall theme –
Let’s break that down into some practical steps.
Two Practical Steps
First, make a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for and right next to it, write your gift-giving budget.
Don’t lose sight of that budget!
Giving gifts within your means is not only honoring to God as you steward your money well, but it also might force you to really think through how to be intentional in giving gifts this year.
Budgets reveal our priorities in how we spend our money.
With that list in hand, look at each person and pray over them.
Pray over their needs, their desires, and how God is working in their lives.
Reflect on qualities that you like in each person on your list.
Think through this in terms of that person’s spiritual gifts (more on this below), or even fruits of the Spirit.
Reflect on what characteristics of God they embody and how much you have been blessed by their life.
Meaningful Gift Ideas
Now we get to the fun part – choosing gifts!
This should be a purposeful process, unique to the people in your life, so we’re going to provide a list of suggestions that will hopefully spark some ideas in your mind for your particular person.
You can add to or edit these ideas as you go – be creative!
7 Meaningful Gift Ideas
Write out a favorite family recipe on a nice recipe card and buy a few ingredients to go along with it. Then, give a hand-made gift certificate good for one night of cooking together.
This can be incredibly meaningful, revealing to your loved one that you know their interests and giftings, or areas they desire to grow in. Make it a book you’ve read and enjoyed, or one they’ve wanted to get around to.
I love this idea for unwrapping on Christmas morning and breaking it open then and there. It leads to a day full of memories not just on Christmas, but for many days in the future.
Buy these at Costco for a deal, and follow up the movie with dinner and/or dessert together. Go into that time prayerfully and looking to have meaningful connection with this person.
Groupon has so many local experiences for a steal. Think: theater shows, wine-tastings, cooking classes, escape rooms… the options are endless for an experience that while leave your person with a meaningful memory they can cherish far longer than a new bottle of lotion.
This is a great opportunity to buy local as you search for meaningful Christmas gifts. That time you would spend searching Amazon for a deal? Text a friend, and go to one of these local events. Not only will you find a meaningful gift, but you’ll get to spend quality time making a new memory (maybe even tradition!) with someone you love.
Meaningful Scripture Based Gifts
There are a couple of great Scripture based resources for choosing meaningful Christmas gifts as well.
The Spiritual Gifts and the fruit of the Spirit the people on your gift giving list have, are great ways to be meaningful with your gift giving.
To help generate ideas we’ve listed some of the Spiritual Gifts and all the Fruit of the Spirit in the images below.
We’ve also got another list of meaningful gifts you can use to spark ideas based on the giftings and fruit the people on your list have.
Meaningful gifts that highlight a person’s Spiritual fruit or giftings will show you truly know the person and have thought a good deal about their gift.
My non-creative brain struggles thinking of gifts but when I think of the people in my life and their Spiritual gifts and fruit, ideas come a whole lot easier.
The below gifts could be used for any of the Spiritual gifts or even the fruit of the Spirit – it depends on the person you’re giving the gift to, the gifts and fruit you’ve noticed in their life, and how the gift you choose aligns with what you’ve noticed about them.
No matter the gift you choose, be sure to include a meaningful letter that reflects how their spiritual fruit and gifts have impacted you and others.
8 More Gift Ideas
A gift card for a massage or night at a Bed & Breakfast would be perfect for the leaders and servants on your gift giving list. If your budgets tight, consider making them a gift card for services you’ll provide them. Ideas would be cleaning their house, watching their kids while you send them on a date, or prepping a few nights of ready to go dinners.
People who spend a lot of time with others, who’re great at building others up (exhortation), and those who spread joy and love, could use a book of clean Christian jokes, chapstick or lip gloss for their ever smiling mouth, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop (so they can spread love and joy for free), or something with the word JOY or LOVE on it.
Personalized coffee cups, Bible covers, pillows (especially a handmade one), bracelets, or a small decoration for their house would be a lovely way to show that you’ve noticed a particular Spiritual fruit or gifting.
You may have people on your list who spend their days serving people in one way or another. They might be leading any number of things at church or even leading their family. Make them a gift card and then wait on them hand and foot for a day, get their car detailed, or clean their house. You could also get them a handmade sign or dish towel that characterizes the qualities you’ve seen in them.
Many women love makeup, facials, or getting their hair, nails, or brows done. Instead of giving them a plain ‘ol gift card, write a note that shows the Spiritual gift and fruit they have and why the giftcard or gift you’re giving them ties with their giftings.
For the men, give them some special grooming supplies (these would vary depending on their facial hair) or a gift card for a couples massage (if married).
Some massage therapists will come to your home and I think this makes a couples massage more special. If they have kids, you could loop the kids in to decorate the room where the massages will be given and you could provide some healthy snacks, and other things that would allow the couple to have a spa day.
I love gifts that fostor memory making and aren’t “things” that are tossed aside when the next gift is open. Escape rooms are one of the best memory makers I’ve found. They require teamwork, allow people’s skills to shine, and produce memories that last for years to come. Plan a memory making day and prepare a special home cooked meal that includes everyone’s favorites, go to an Escape Room, and then come home and spend time playing games together. This gift doesn’t have to be a “family only” gift. Invite friends that don’t know each other and make it a time of memories and new friendships.
Handmade gifts are another favorite of mine and Pinterest makes this so much easier. Think about the person’s Spiritual giftings and fruit, and then search for something they could use or look at, that encapsulates the qualities you’re wanting to highlight.
Etsy is another great place for finding meaningful gifts. The best part is many can be customized and I love, love that a good portion of them are handmade just for you.
Meaningful Places to Shop
Because we believe in sustainability and doing our best to use things that are made and grown in a manner that treats our planet and the people on it well, we wanted to include some online shops where meaningful gifts can be purchased.
Purchasing from these shops will better the lives of the men and women who made the products and show the person receiving the gift how intentional you were when choosing their gift.
The below companies are fair trade, ethically sourced, and in many cases sustainable.
Citizen and Darling has a Jesus-centered mission, with all of their clothes featuring some sort of Gospel-theme. They donate 10% of their profits to different organizations (which they list on their website) that fight against sex trafficking. Plus, all of their clothes are ethically sourced and made
This company only sells vegan, non-toxic, ethically sourced, cruelty free products. This is a great place to find meaningful gifts for anyone on your list- especially vegans.
This company has been putting people and the planet first since 1946. Boy do we love companies that are being good stewards of the earth and God’s children. Everything at Ten Thousand Villages is handcrafted by people who’re trying to make a life for themselves. You can be certain that a gift purchased here will be meaningful in more ways than one.
The front page of Society B says “give a gift that matters” and we couldn’t agree more. 10% of your purchase goes to charity. Society B has something for everyone and the charities they support are oh so meaningful. Every purchase Society B purchase makes a difference so write a note explaining why you chose this gift and the difference it’s making in others’ lives.
This online shop allows you to shop by cause and collaborates with a long list of amazing causes. They’ve also got a 40% off “Made to Many” section where, Friday-Sunday, you get 40% off their extra products.
Their philosophy is “Americans give $400 billion to charity each year, but we spend $130 trillion buying everyday items. Redirecting even a small percentage of this spending to brands that are reducing poverty, fighting climate change, and otherwise making the world better would make a huge impact.” Purchasing a meaningful gift from Done Good would be meaningful for many many reasons.
This online shop makes a point of curating gifts that don’t harm our planet and that better people’s lives. All of their products are fairtrade, eco friendly, and have a social mission. A gift chosen from Greenheart will carry the artisans story, tell about the community where the materials originated, and the history behind the production process. Greenheart is a great place for finding meaningful gifts for the people on your list.
This online marketplace is a 501(c) 3 organization with all proceeds going to help “expand the capacity of our artisans” Gifts from Global Goods Partners are all handmade by female artisans who’re working to better their lives. What a way to show your gift recipient and the woman behind the gift how much you care.
31 Bits was started by 3 Christian women who came in at the start of the movement for ethical fashion, and since that time over 10 years ago have been advocating for artisans all over the world, providing education, counseling, health programs, business training and so much more in the communities they work in. All of their goods are hand-made by people from all over the globe.
The Tote Project has beautifully crafted pouches and totes that are not only ethically manufactured by two wonderful fair trade business (Freeset and Oasis Bags), but 10% of their profits goes to the Two Wings organization, which fights sex trafficking by empowering survivors through skills training, mentoring programs, and career training.
Wow! I don’t normally like shopping for gifts but I’ll tell you what…
Christmas shopping will be done early this year and it’ll be done following the steps Sarah’s outlined in this post and at some of the online shops we’ve listed.
Step outside of the box this Christmas and put meaning behind each gift you purchase.
Whether you purchase a meaningful gift and add a special note, make a handmade gift, or give the gift of time together…when you give it following the steps above, you’ll know you’ve given a gift wrapped with love.
Spread the meaningful gift message and share this post on social and with the ones you love.
Until next time…
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9