31 Christmas Presents You Don’t Need To Buy

by Advent and Christmas

If you’ve even been in a relationship workshop, like Pre-Cana for engaged couples, you’d heard of the five love languages: physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifts.

In our consumerism culture, we tend to rely on gifts, especially around the holidays.

As Christians, we know we’re supposed to say, “It’s not about Santa and the presents. It’s about faith and family.”

Of course, of course.

You probably didn’t even want to read this article because it’s probably the typical “true meaning of Christmas” vibe. Everyone knows the true meaning response.

But, we don’t put it into practice.

Much like our faith is dead without works [James 2:14-26], we have no integrity if we can recite the “right answer” about the holidays but don’t practice it in action. We haven’t truly internalized it if externally expresses all about presents and spending money.

Love is action. Sometimes it is wrapped up, maybe gift wrap or a swaddle. Sometimes it is a hug, or kind words, or cleaning your house for you after you’ve gone through something difficult. It is making a meal, giving a needed new pair of shoes, or sponsoring someone’s dance lessons.

So, this year, instead of throwing presents at people and calling it a done deal, let’s really be more intentional.

31 Christmas Gift Ideas That Won’t Cost You Much At All

We need less generic material gifts and more actions, words, and presents that mean more than fulfilling a wish-list of toys. Here are some practical suggestions to inspire you:

  1. Clean your hosts’ house. To be polite, your host might just reject your offer, so perhaps don’t ask first. Just start gathering dishes and do it joyfully. Normalize it and make an everlasting family habit. Even if you’re pushed aside despite your best efforts and end up just keeping them company while they do dishes. Use your best judgement.
  2. Food. Everyone has a favorite. Bake what you can.
  3. Go the extra mile and travel to someone you haven’t seen in a long, long time. Your presence is really, truly a gift. Give them a heads up or surprise them, depending on your relationship. Make sure you clarify that they don’t need to play host; you just wanted hugs and to see them in person. Cook for them while you are over.
  4. Do community service in their honor.
  5. Shop around your own home. You probably have clothes you no longer wear, food you’ll never eat, and items you don’t use just sitting in your home collecting dust. Would someone in your life find those things useable? There’s no shame in giving it as a gift!
  6. A sign out front of your house giving an encouraging message Iinstead of a mean one like we’ve become so used to seeing!)
  7. A community gift, like a little neighborhood library
  8. Visit someone you know or suspect is lonely.
  9. Create a scrapbook of memories and photos
  10. Invite someone, perhaps your priest, over for dinner.
  11. Write a letter or send out Christmas cards.
  12. Sing a song or play a piece on an instrument.
  13. Offer to help decorate for Christmas OR, better yet, take done the Christmas decorations when the season is over.
  14. Shovel a neighbor’s or friend’s driveway
  15. Make a cookbook full of your family’s favorite recipes.
  16. Go for a walk or a drive together.
  17. Offer a Mass for them.
  18. Spend time having a meaningful conversation. Ask the person what they want to talk about.
  19. Wash someone’s car.
  20. Create someone artwork for their home.
  21. Clean out their gutters.
  22. Do some Christmas Caroling around your neighborhood.
  23. Offer to babysit or petsit.
  24. Rake the leaves.
  25. Gift “coupons” redeemable for things like: running errands, rides, breakfast in bed, chores, etc.
  26. Bring in the neighbor’s mail.
  27. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
  28. Give the gift of forgiveness and make amends with those you are not on good terms with.
  29. Help someone redo their home.
  30. Grow flowers, vegetables, or herbs and gift them to those you love.
  31. Pray a rosary or a novena for your friends and family!

More Tips For A Thoughtful Christmas:

  • Remember your priests. invite them over for a meal.
  • Include the lonely or the otherwise forgotten. Don’t include them like they are a pity case but make your elderly neighbor who can’t travel to family your guest of honor.  
  • Remember those in prison, the ill, and the elderly.
  • Give less, but more thoughtful gifts.
  • Remember your manners this year
  • Tip a little more.
  • Speak to others with love.
  • Put others first.
  • Include the lonely or the otherwise forgotten. Don’t include them like they are a pity case but make your elderly neighbor who can’t travel to family your guest of honor.  

What else are you going to do for others this holiday that is unexpected? What has someone done for you or with you that is your favorite memory or you look forward to every year?

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