The following are suggestions for gifts you can give for Christmas, other holidays, or occasions that won’t break your budget. On many occasions —it is the thought that counts:
• You can give a Photo Calendar. Put together with photos that are meaningful to the recipient. Office Supply stores and other places like these offer to put this together for you for a reasonable price. Or you can get the program to put a calendar together on your computer.
• Give some Homemade ornaments or order a personalized ornament.
• Dessert of the Month Gift. It’s the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.
• Bake up a dessert (Christmas cookies, brownies, etc). Put it in a nice container with a note in it that promises a dessert once a month for the whole year.
• Make a coupon that entitles the recipient to a free night of babysitting so they have a night out together with their spouse without the cost of babysitting. You can also give a gift certificate to a restaurant or whatever so the night out is a free one for them. (At Themarriagebed.com you can find a PDF template to help you with this. Just click on Love Coupons.)
• Find a note card that has a picture on it that reminds you of that person. Then write a note of appreciation inside explaining why you chose that card with that picture and let them know some of the things you appreciate about them. (One of our sons who was in college did that one year and everyone thought that was one of the best gifts they’d ever received.)
• Give a magazine subscription so the recipient receives a type of “hug” every time their magazine comes to them throughout the next year.
• Give a journaling book so they can write their life story in their own words. This will give them the opportunity to write out a “lasting heritage for their children and grandchildren.” A few suggestions: Thomas Nelson Publishing has the journaling books titled: A Mother’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words and A Father’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words and A Grandparent’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words and Chronicle Books has Memories for My Grandchild, which have questions on each page and space to write a personal answer. (Or you can purchase a lined journaling book and put a question at the top of each page for them to write their story below it.)
• Give a simple gift (funny or otherwise). Talk to your sibling(s) about simplifying Christmas. Instead of giving each other more “stuff” that’s not necessarily needed, agree to give a humorous or sentimental card and/or a small gift and give the money you would have spent on a larger gift to a charity or ministry in their honor.
• Decide together with your siblings that instead of giving gifts to every one of them put the names together in a hat before Christmas and each person selects one name that they would give a gift to (determining ahead of time the amount that would be the most they could spend on that person).
• Go to garage sales, praying that God will show you what you could give to your loved one that will bless them. This will take pre-planning, but it’s sure kinder to the budget when you need the gift.
• Give a gift of yourself. Give a card with a gift certificate in it for a grocery store near them and make a date to take that loved one there and then promise to spend the day together doing errands that need to be done.
• As a family make up a coupon book to give to a loved one. The coupon book could contain coupons that include: raking leaves, mowing their lawn, baking a dessert for them, renting and then watching a video together, running errands together, walking their dog, babysitting, or any number of creative acts of love that you can come up with.
• Find a picture of you with your loved one when you’re together in a favorite place. Have the picture enlarged and frame it as a gift.
• Give them days of laughter. Buy for them a cartoon book that they would find humorous. They could be Snoopy, or Far Side, or Family Circle, or Calvin and Hobbs, or Fox Trot, or Herman, or “Uncle John’s Bathroom” books, or whatever you think they’d find funny. You could even get them at a used bookstore to help the budget out even further.
• Put together a “Memory Jar.” Make up little notes with little memories you’ve had with them of the blessing they’ve been to your life. You can put scripture verses in the jar to encourage them, and prayers you’ve prayed for them. Just be creative in finding things to put in it that will be a blessing to them.
• Get a basket and put some of their favorite foods in it.
• Give them a coupon for “Just You and Me Time.” We know of a grown son that gave that coupon to his mom. They chose a date and the son picked up his mom, took her to dinner, and to the symphony—”Not the best seats in the house” according to the son “because of a tight budget”— but they were million dollar seats to the mom. It was one of the highlights of her life.
Another year, it was a day out to a wonderful lunch and then a trip to a museum, talking, laughing, and loving the time together. There have been more— but you get the idea. I know for a fact, the mom would have been happy with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a walk in the park. Just the quality time together made them the best gifts possible. (I know— because I’m the mom).
• There are a lot of different “coupons” that you could make up. One wife suggested that the husband could make up a few coupons that the wife could redeem for “guilt free” times together. It could contain coupons for him to do the dishes when she’s tired, or making dinner while she sits back and watches TV or whatever relaxing thing she could choose to do.
There could be coupons in there for a foot massage, or a back rub, or a picnic lunch out together where he packs the lunch, or playing a table game together like Monopoly or Scrabble (with no complaining on his part), or having her write down several “honey-do” jobs that he’ll do within a certain amount of time without complaint. The possibilities are endless. (For a PDF template, please go to Marriagebed.com to find Love Coupons.)
And ladies, the coupon giving could be done on your part for your husbands. The possibilities could be endless there also.
• Make Hot Chocolate mix, putting it in a nice container (and include the recipe). One recipe for this could be: Powdered milk (that makes 8 quarts of milk), 1 pound of Nestles Chocolate Quick, 8 ounces of Coffee Creamer, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Mix all ingredients together. Use 1/3 cup of mix to one cup of boiling water.
• Give a book on CD so they can listen while driving.
• Put together a basket of fruit and healthy snacks (and maybe even some not so healthy ones).
• Give them a work certificate giving them “a day with you helping them do their spring cleaning.“
• Give an inspirational book. You could even purchase it at a used bookstore.
• Give tickets to an event that would bless them.
• Make up a personalized photo album for them. Of course you’d have to obtain photos of them— but you could gather them from family members and make it unique. It could even be a humorous one.
• Make a homemade wreath.
• Give a book for journaling. One gift my husband gives me [Cindy] every Christmas is a new Devotional Journal fro the upcoming New Year. It’s especially meaningful to me because it’s a gift from him.
• As a family, make a video to send to grandma in another state that contains messages of love to her.
• Make a meal for them, or the promise of a meal so they can have a “not having to cook” day.
• Give a certificate for a massage, or a day at the spa, or a manicure.
• Invest in their marriage. Give them a subscription to a marriage magazine, and/or some CD’s or DVD’s, or a book, or tickets to a seminar that would bless their marriage and their future lives together.
• Giving Phone Cards can be a blessing.
• Give them a photo box or two and a promise to sit down with them to help organize their photos.
• Give them a photo scrapbook of “Christmases of the Past.”
• Give a Gasoline certificate.
• Baked goods that they can eat soon and some they can freeze to enjoy later is a great gift.
• Give a photo collage in a simple frame.
• You can give Movie gift certificates or ones to a movie rental store.
• Give a gift certificate to a favorite coffee shop of a fast food restaurant.
• Give Christmas CD’s.
• Homemade candles or homemade soaps can be nice gifts. (You can get these kits at craft stores.)
• Give a basket with stationary (It can even be homemade), envelopes, and stamps.
• Grandkids can send a card that says, “I’ll write to you one a month for a whole year.”
• Notebooks/scrapbooks that contain meaningful things (like photos, awards, honors, etc.) can make lovely gifts. It will take time to do this, which is the most precious gift we can give.
• Have a favorite family picture made into a jigsaw puzzle for your loved one.
• Instead of gift-wrapping the gift, hide it and then give the recipient a card with a clue as to where they can start a “treasure hunt” for their present and then at each location have another clue waiting for them to figure out until they finally locate the mystery of where their present is. (You’re giving them a gift and a fun time finding it. We had great fun with this idea with our sons.)
• Put together a “Personal Web Book” that contains web sites you think your loved one will like.
• Pass on some prized possessions. Some of the most meaningful gifts are ones in which you give something that you own that you know they’d enjoy. It could be a treasured piece of jewelry, or a photo, or an heirloom of some type.
I hope this will help you to bless your family and friends in unique ways, which say, “I care” and/or “I love you.”
This article was compiled by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.
— ALSO —
You may find it to be helpful to read an additional article put together by the ministry of Focus on the Family. Do so by clicking onto:
And from the ministry of The-generous-wife.com, the following web site link will take you to a contest, which Lori Byerly conducted (it’s no longer active). Not only does the article give a few tips, you will find below the article that many women contributed a variety of gift-giving ideas in their comments you might find helpful, as well:
If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
Filed under: Finances in Marriage