The secret ingredient to the best Christmas gifts

Key ingredient: thoughtfulness

The Secret Ingredient to the Best Christmas Gifts

Key ingredient: thoughtfulness

BY ED CYZEWKSI
Author of A Christian Survival Guide and The Contemplative Writer
edcyzewski.com

When I only had $10 to spend on a gift for each person at Christmastime, I had to ask myself very different questions. The most important: “What would this person never buy for himself/herself?” It’s led me on quite the journey even as my family’s budget got bigger.

Recipe: Homemade

WHAT YOU NEED

Time:  Low   Medium   High

Budget:   $   $$   $$$

  • Good insight
  • Time
  • Limitations (creativity actually thrives with limitations)
  • A willingness to learn something new
  • A taste for art or cooking or creating (or a friend with one)
Homemade image for the recipe card.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Realize that homemade gifts are not just okay. They are fantastic! The first time I gave my grandmother a jar of homemade applesauce, she opened it right away and burst into tears at the first taste. She hadn’t eaten homemade applesauce since the last time her mother made it. And my mom guards her jar of blueberry jam, while my in-laws don’t miss a meal without their hot sauce.
  2. Keep spending under control by joining together with family members to buy one large gift that someone would never buy on his or her own. As my family has reached greater financial security, we’ve been able to spend more money on gifts. But our question remains the same: “What would this person never buy for himself/herself?” For a big-ticket example, we all went in on a computer for my wife before she entered graduate school.
  3. Revel in the incredible joy of giving someone a gift that they could never get on their own. In fact, meeting a real need is the best kind of gift giving. God knew that when He overshadowed Mary with His power and sent us a Savior as the greatest gift — doing something for us we could never do on our own.

 

SEE MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS

Recipe: Homemade

WHAT YOU NEED

Time:  Low   Medium   High

Budget:   $   $$   $$$

  • Good insight
  • Time
  • Limitations (creativity actually thrives with limitations)
  • A willingness to learn something new
  • A taste for art or cooking or creating (or a friend with one)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Realize that homemade gifts are not just okay. They are fantastic! The first time I gave my grandmother a jar of homemade applesauce, she opened it right away and burst into tears at the first taste. She hadn’t eaten homemade applesauce since the last time her mother made it. And my mom guards her jar of blueberry jam, while my in-laws don’t miss a meal without their hot sauce.
  2. Keep spending under control by joining together with family members to buy one large gift that someone would never buy on his or her own. As my family has reached greater financial security, we’ve been able to spend more money on gifts. But our question remains the same: “What would this person never buy for himself/herself?” For a big-ticket example, we all went in on a computer for my wife before she entered graduate school.
  3. 3. Revel in the incredible joy of giving someone a gift that they could never get on their own. In fact, meeting a real need is the best kind of gift giving. God knew that when He overshadowed Mary with His power and sent us a Savior as the greatest gift — doing something for us we could never do on our own.

SEE MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS

Get the 12 recipes download PDF

Make unforgettable memories with your family this Christmas with these 12 ideas!

DIY, Family Activities, Prayer, and more.

Get the 12 recipes download PDF

Make unforgettable memories with your family this Christmas with these 12 ideas!

DIY, Family Activities, Prayer, and more.

My 'Recipe' Story

Years of being blessed with a low checking account balance forced me to rethink my approach to Christmas. Those were not easy years as I tried to tell myself that Christmas isn’t all about the presents, while fearing that my family would consider me cheap or inconsiderate.

This led to a series of time-consuming projects, such as homemade applesauce, unique jams, hot sauce, and framed photographs. I tailored everything to the specific needs of each person, and in most cases, kept us within our budget.

In a happy case of irony, my focus on gift giving led me back to a better conception of Christmas. The more I’ve thought about my gift-giving strategy, the more I’ve been drawn away from focusing on giving gifts.

Because isn’t Christmas all about the power of God to do for us what we could never do for ourselves?

More Fun Recipes for Christmas

More Fun Recipes

Dice thumbnail.

The White Elephant game your family won’t forget

Our family has been doing a Christmas gift exchange in the same room for as long as I can remember. The floor is carpeted with 1960s AstroTurf, and the walls are mostly glass doors out to the patio..

read more

Advent Conspiracy Thumbnail.

A Christmas conspiracy: 4 life-changing new traditions

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old..

read more

The gratitude game thumbnail.

The Gratitude Game: Hilarious old photos optional

I smile when I think about my childhood. I grew up in a large family with six kids. We had our quarrels (as most children do), but what stands out most are our backyard adventures..

read more