Why Gift Giving Matters

Okay y’all. Lets talk about gift giving. Tis the season after all. But, honestly, gift giving is a topic that stays relevant throughout the year. Think birthdays, get well gifts, and moments a friend needs encouragement. Christmas isn’t the only time of year that thoughtful gift giving matters!

Girl holding out a gift with the text, "Why Gift Giving Matters"

I’m going to spend a couple posts on this topic because I LOVE GIFT GIVING!

Also, over the years, a lot of people have commented to me that they wished it was easier for them to come up with good gifts. If that describes you, stay tuned. We’ll chat about how to keep track of birthdays and special events, how to brainstorm gift ideas, and how to stick to a budget when it comes to gifting.

But before we dive into the practical side of picking a good gift, let’s talk about why gift giving matters to begin with.

It’s common to hear people bemoaning the materialistic downfall of holidays. This complaint reaches it’s climax around Christmas time. And it’s not without validity. It’s sometimes easy to sacrifice worship on the altar of bustle. We can be lured into focusing on what we want to receive instead of enjoying the meaning of the season and the blessing of relationships that matter to us.

But gifts are about more than greed and materialism. It’s about more than what you can and can’t afford.

Let’s explore why gift giving matters.

Gift Giving is an Imitation of God

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)

Our lives, both physical and spiritual, are a gift from God. We can’t match His level of gift giving, but we can imitate Him by being generous givers and grateful receivers.

We are the children of a generous God. Yes, there are more important gifts than a gift card for a birthday or a toy to a child on Christmas, but I like to think that a nature of generosity includes the little things as well as the big.

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

Gift Giving Communicates Care

In my mind, the perfect gift has very little to do with how much money was spent. The perfect gift is one that communicates that you know the person you’re giving it to. The perfect gift says, “I see you. I’ve payed attention to you. You matter.”

This doesn’t always have to be carefully thought out or intimately personal. If trying to come up with a gift idea feels overwhelming to you, don’t overthink it! Big or small, personal or generic, all gifts require some level of investment of time and resources. That investment communicates that you care.

That said, if you are able to put some thought and effort into picking something personalized, I think that goes a long way in the world of gift giving. We’ll get into how to do that in a future post. 😉

Gift Giving Brings People Together

Many of our best memories are formed during birthday parties, holiday celebrations, bridal showers, and babies showers. These special moments bring people together, and we often incorporate gifts into celebratory moments of life.

Much like sharing a meal around a table, gifts cause people to pull a chair around a central location and give their focus to the same thing. The family comes together around the Christmas Tree on the morning of December 25th. Family members come bearing cupcakes and cheerfully wrapped presents to commemorate someone’s birthdate. The hum of laughter and conversation surrounds a glowing, excited bride at her bridal shower.

Think of the Wise Men, gathered around Jesus and focused on Him. He was both the recipient of their gifts and the greatest gift they would ever receive.

If gift giving is done with the wrong attitude, it can quickly become materialistic instead of beautiful. But perhaps we should examine our motives instead of the act of gift giving itself.

Let’s make time to gather around Jesus and contemplate Him, especially at Christmas time.

And let’s also make time to gather together and recognize that the people we give gifts to are treasures in our lives. Let’s make gift giving less about the objects and the money spent, and more about the time and effort put into the act of gift giving. Let’s make gift giving (and receiving) about reflecting God’s generosity, expressing love for each other, and building community.

What makes gift giving and receiving special to you? What is a gift you’ve received that was extra special to you? Why do you think gift giving is important?

Visit the Other Posts in This Series

Ideas for a Letter of Encouragement

In my tween and early teen years, I loved collecting pen pals. I would introduce myself to girls my age at homeschool conferences and camp grounds and ask if they would like to be my pen pal. Many of those girls never responded to my letters, but a few became friends I’ll love for life. We used letter writing to learn about each other. We used letter writing to encourage each other in the Lord. We used letter writing to love each other well.

Letter of Encouragement

Letter writing has become less needed and less practical as digital communication continues to develop, but it still holds a special place in my heart. Opening an email doesn’t hold the same excitement as opening the mailbox to find a note from a friend. Reading words on a screen lacks the personal, heart touching warmth of handwritten words on paper.

Who in your life would benefit from a letter of encouragement right now?

Continue reading “Ideas for a Letter of Encouragement”

5 Things I Loved This February

Several email lists that I subscribe to do a monthly list of things they’re enjoying. Those emails are my favorites. Often I delete similar emails without reading them. There’s just not enough time to keep up with them all. But the “things I’m loving” emails get saved until I have some time to comb through them.

5 Things I Loved this February

With so much content available online, I find it helpful and enjoyable to receive a curated list of podcasts, blog posts, books, recipes, etc. that someone else has already vetted and enjoyed.

Since I don’t plow through books quite as fast these days, I will be experimenting with mixing in other types of content as I try to get back into the blogging game. A “what I’m loving” list seemed like a good place to start since it’s the type of content I enjoy receiving.

Continue reading “5 Things I Loved This February”

The Secret is Out! The Quote Variation Winner Is…

The QV Winner

Having the quote variation contest these past two weeks has been a blast! You all are so creative and so much fun. 🙂 Thanks to each one of you for participating through entering a quote, voting, or both! The quote variation that received the most votes is quite appropriate for this blog.

The Winner Is…

#7 | Variation Bookworm

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Congratulations Lina-Ruth! You’re the winner of some new-to-you reading material! I’ll be emailing you with more details by the end of the day. The runners up were #5 | Variation Salvation and #2 | Variation Superhero which tied for second place. Awesome jobs Spencer R and proverbs31teen! 🙂

Thanks again to all who participated. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something like it soon. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Quote Variation Contest Voting

Watching entries for the Pride and Prejudice Quote Variation contest role in was so much fun. You all came up with some creative ideas! Now you get to see them all in one spot. Scroll through, pick your favorite, and use the voting form to cast your vote. You can ask people to vote for your quote or support your favorite quote by using the sharing links below each image. (Note: If you use the Facebook share links, be sure to add a note telling your friends which quote you want to support. Facebook does not fill the description in for you.)

#1 | Variation CLEP

#1 | Variation CLEP

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#2 | Variation Superhero

#2 | Variation Superhero

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#3 | Variation Fishing

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#4 | Variation Hitchhiker

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#5 | Variation Salvation

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#6 | Variation Artsy

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#7 | Variation Bookworm

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Support this quote on Twitter | Facebook | Pintverest

#8 | Variation Fangirl

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#9 | Variation Hunger Games

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#10 | Variation Hobbit

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#11 | Variation Author

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And now for the drumroll please. It’s time to vote.

Can’t wait to see who will win! I’ll announce the results next Tuesday. 🙂

Movie Review: Stuck

StuckI know, I know. Fridays are for book reviews, not movie reviews. I didn’t have enough time to read a new orphan/adoption book this week, though, so a movie review it is. If you want a book review check out Saving Levi, A Horse to Love, or Bridge Called Hope. But for now…

All of these kids have families. All of these kids have homes in the US, and they have for years. And ye here they’re sitting, waiting, suffering.

International adoption is known for it’s hefty price tag and frequently long duration. Why does it take so long when so many children around the world wait for forever families? This documentary follows three families through their international adoptions, and provides a very personal look at the joys and heartaches of the process. It also provides a glimpse at international laws and treaties that cause adoptions to be held up for years with very little reason.

Yes, it’s true, I cried my way through this film not once, but twice. It’s heartbreaking to watch parents struggle against a convoluted system while loving children they can’t be with or take care of. And it’s wonderful (in a tearful sort of way ;)) to see these parents finally united with the children they have fought for. You can rent it for a week on Amazon or buy the DVD off the Both Ends Burning website. Want to know more? Read my friend Marli Renee’s blog post or watch the Stuck trailer over on the Teens Interceding for Orphans.

What do you know about the cost and time involved in international adoption? What are your opinions on the subject?

Care about orphans? Check out my new website, Teens Interceding for Orphans.

Youth, Homeschooling, the Past and the Future

Romeike

He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.

Do you know who said this? Keep reading and I’ll tell you.

A few days ago I made a post titled Support the Romeikes. The Romeike’s are a German family who came to the states to escape persecution in their homeland. Several of you clicked through to the petition started on their behalf. Thank you. Today HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) published a video about the Romeikes. I’m embedding it here if you want to watch it.

As soon as Mr. Romeike said, “The government wants the right to impose what they think children should learn.” I knew I’d heard that sentiment before. You read it in the quote posted above. Those words were spoken by a government leader in Germany. Have you guessed who? It was Adolf Hitler.

That’s right. A lot of people don’t know that governmental control of the German youth was a huge part of Hitler’s devastating plan for the Third Reich. And now the German people are fighting this war again. What’s even scarier is that we here in the United States need to fight it too because our government wants the same power. And Hitler was right, whoever controls the education of the children controls the future of the country.

To quote Hitler again:

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.

We need to think. English statesman Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He also stated that, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” He was right. On both counts.

Whether or not you support homeschooling, it’s important to recognize that absolute control over education should not be handed over to any government. It led to disaster in Germany and it can easily do the same again. Except this time it could be the downfall of our “bastion of freedom,” the US. Let’s not make the same mistake made by so many people before and during WWII. The mistake of silence. To close, consider this quote from another English statesman, William Wilberforce.

You may chose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.