Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Shoebox Gifts

December First! 
 The season for giving is here. 

This year the the need is greater than ever.  Coincidentally, The Coder (the husband) and I were lamenting that the real meaning of Christmas seems to slip further and further away every season. This same discussion comes up year after year. Sometimes we blame "the war on Christmas". Sometimes we blame the culture. Sometimes we blame the times we live in,  the politics, the church or anything that doesn't point the finger right back at us.  But the truth of the matter is that it is each person's job to share Christmas. One by One. Heart by Heart.  So, we asked each other what can we do, in our home that will really reflect the reason for the season, 
The Unconditional Gift of God's Love.

This year, after praying and asking the The Lord to lay something on my heart, we decided that we would participate in the Shoebox Gift Ministry at our church. The three of us (The Coder, The Lawyer, and me, The Salesman) would donate a shoe box gift. 

The church's goal this year is 600 gifts to give to the homeless, those in transition from homelessness or addictions, and families in our neighborhood. For some families these might be the only Christmas presents to be unwrapped this holiday season.

Each box contains: 
Lip Balm, 1-2 pairs of socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, a washcloth, comb, small game or puzzle, snack foods such as crackers, nuts, candy, and energy bars, fast food gift certificates, a New Testament  Bible, a gallon size ziploc bag, knit gloves, and a knit hat.

 The items are placed in a shoebox, if you have them. 
I went to Walmart and purchased slipper boxes.

Wrapped and labeled for a man or woman.

The funny thing is that right before I gathered the items for the 3 boxes... it occured to me that maybe it wasn't enough. Maybe others need to know that giving doesn't just magically get done. I'm afraid that many folks suffer from the same delusion that I struggled with for most of my life. Some one else will do it. So that is why I am sharing this with you.  People need to know that we all need to take care of our own.  We need to love our own. We need to love where we live. 

After discussing this revelation with The Coder, we decided that we would still give to everyone just like we always do. That part doesn't change. But in addition, a note would go in their gift or card that reads as follows: 

Merry Christmas! 
As you open and enjoy this gift that we chose for you with love, please imagine the following: 
Someone, somewhere, tonight is opening a small gift that has been given in your name. Nothing extravagant mind you, just some simple necessities in a wrapped shoebox.
 As you celebrate The Season of Love and Giving, and perhaps as The Holy Spirit leads, we hope you will say a prayer or ask a blessing for the recipient of your shoebox gift. 

 "Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies." 
 Hebrews 13:1-3 NLT

Thank you for the blessing that you  are to our family! 

Sweet Giving Friends, how will share the Gift of Christmas?


kr said...

When my boys were in 1st and 3rd grades, we decided as a family to make the christmas season about others. Like you, we started with the shoebox which we are doing to this day. Later, we added what we call the 12 days of chritmas. We choose a family, either with children or an older lonely couple, and for 12 days (ending on christmas eve) we secretly drop gifts at the home with a small note pertaining to that day in the song...but with a twist. The 12 days has become the highlight of our holiday season, we're always thinking of our family, we're making memories, and at the reveal on christmas eve, we've made new friends.

Heirloom treasures said...

Lovely post Liz,it really made me think.
My grandchildren did the shoebox gifting when they were in first grade. It really made them grateful for what they had,which has stayed with them as they have grown. xx

Love Of Quilts said...

This is a good thing you and your church are doing.I too beleive in giving and starting with family that is in need.

Diane Writes said...

Hi Liz! First of all thank you for following my blog. New visitors and friends really make me happy.

How I wish I was able to join your noble activity. Your gift is indeed one of the greatest I've ever seen because it's something that comes from the heart and shares the wonderful blessing from above.

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Pamela Gordon said...

What a beautiful idea. We are so blessed and there are so many without. Thanks for sharing.

Jen Orsini said...

Hi, I'm new here and had to drop a note to say that I too did this when my kids were in school--and your post reminded me that it's time I got back into this holiday tradition. The addition of a note is so special, thanks for the inspiration!

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

Bless your heart for you generosity!
I'm sure whoever gets these will love them!

Melissa said...

Perfect idea...