RELATIONAL CHRISTMAS GIFTS IDEAS In the spirit of spending less on tangible gifts and spending more time with others this Christmas, we encourage you to sit down with your family and pick your favorite items from this list. They’ll only happen if you make time to plan and do them! We hope you enjoy stepping out of consumerism this Christmas and instead celebrating the relationships God has given to you. For more gift ideas, check out www.rethinkingchristmas.com. ~ GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME~ Gift Certificate for an “Experience” or “Activity” - Create a fun certificate stating an activity you want to do with him/her. Ideas include a craft project, an at-home movie night, road trip, a trip to the guitar center to play guitars together, day trip with cameras with your photographer friend, a hike with a packed lunch. Ideas are endless! Gift Certificate “Coupon” - Show love by helping someone with a project that they need help getting done…. babysitting for worn out parents, yard work for an elderly person, performing basic car maintenance, house projects (organizing, painting, fence repair, etc). Share a Christmas Experience – Invite loved ones to do fun Christmas activities such as walk through neighborhoods with Christmas lights (don’t forget the hot chocolate!), attend a Living Nativity Scene, attend a musical performance, and others. Grandma's Best Recipe - Ask your grandmother not to buy you any presents for Christmas, and instead, ask her to show you how to make your favorite recipes that she makes. Start a Book Club Between You and a Friend - For your bookworm friends, wrap two copies of the same book and give them along with a note describing your newly formed book club that consists of only the two of you. Pick a night of the week that you both can meet or talk on the phone about the books you read. ~ GIVE ENCOURAGEMENT ~ Little Book of God's Goodness - Give a blank journal to a friend and title it, "God's Goodness" along with these instructions… “The Book of James tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights. This book is for you to record all the good things of each day. Did you have a good conversation? See a magnificent sunset? Did you wake up? We often do not see the goodness of the Lord simply because we are not looking for it. When you have a day when it seems impossible to find anything good, read over the pages of your book and be encouraged! God is faithful.” Invite the friend to be on a ‘goodness hunt’ with you where pick a regular day/time to share what you've both recorded. Memory Jar/Box/Book - Taking a stroll down memory lane is a fun way to relive special times you’ve spent with a loved one. Using several sheets of paper, cut paper into strips and write down a memory with the person who’ll receive this gift. Drop all the pieces into a jar or box – or paste them into a journal. Give the gift a title, and perhaps include a handmade card that explains what that person means to you. The Belated Thank You Letter - For each of your relatives, recall a memory with them from your youth in which you never said thank you. The letters can be unique, or can simply be started with "I remember when I was younger" and then proceeded to write down as much about that memory as you can. ~ GIVE THROUGH SERVING TOGETHER ~ Adopt a Family-In-Need - Instead of exchanging gifts with others, pool the money you would have spent on gifts together and adopt a needy family or child. Homeless Care Bags - Make fleece hats and distribute to homeless along with socks, granola bar, an orange and bottle of water. Include a handmade Christmas card w/ scripture reference. Remember Your Elderly Neighbors - Deliver poinsettias to elderly neighbors, and the most important part of your visit is to spend a few minutes talking with and listening to them. Visit Local Fire station or Police Department - Deliver cookies and baked goodies to your local fire station or police department on Christmas morning. Do a Fun Run/Walk Together - Pick 1 or more to do with loved ones. A great (and healthy!) way to spend time with others while benefiting those in need! Check out RunTex’s site with details for all the runs! (www.runtex.com) 11/27/08 - Turkey Trot - Benefiting Caritas of Austin 12/5/08 – McDonald’s Lights of Love 5K – Benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central TX 12/6/08 – Reindeer Run 5K – Benefiting Toys for Tots 12/6/08 – Run Like the Wind 3 Mile & Distance Run – Benefiting dogs who need training 12/7/08 – Brown Santa 5K and Kids K – Benefiting those in need in Travis county 12/14/08 - Jingle Bell 5K – Benefiting MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) ~ GIVE SIMPLE GIFTS ~ Granola in a Jar - This mason jar granoloa mix will be a big hit with everyone! Look for other mason jar recipes such as chocolate chip cookies and others on the Internet. Supplies - Quart Size Canning Jars w/ Lids, Scrap Fabric, Ribbon, Glue, Paper Granola Recipe 4 cups rolled oats 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup honey 1 cup wheat germ 1 tspn cinnamon 1 small package dried fruit of 1 cup chopped nuts 1/4 tspn salt your choice (cranberry, cherry, 1/2 cup sesame seeds 1/3 cup vegetable oil raisin, pineapple, papaya) Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, wheat germ, nuts, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the oil, honey, and water. Toss the mixture until the ingredients are well combined, then spread it evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake the granola for 40 min or unitl lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes to keep the mixture from sticking. Let cool completely, then stir in the dried fruit. Makes ~ 7 cups. Decorating the Jar – Cut a circle out of the fabric that is 6 - 8 inches across. (Trace around the top of a bowl) Place the round section of the jar's lid on the jar and center the fabric on that. Screw the other section of the lid in place to hold the fabric. Fluff out the fabric where it comes out from under the lid. Cut the ribbon your desired length, and wrap it around the lid of the jar and tie in a bow. Secure in place with a small dab of glue behind the bow and in the back. Give “Christmas Nail Ornaments” - Make Christmas Nail ornaments to give out to people you come into contact with over the holidays – great for teachers, delivery people, etc. These unexpected gifts will encourage and brighten anyone's day, as well as share Christ's message. Supplies – 8” Landscape spikes (avail at hardware stores), card stock paper, red ribbon Directions – Print or handwrite the following message and verse below onto card stock (can print several onto a sheet). Cut into approx 3"x5" cards and punch a hole in the top left corner. Tie a ¼" red ribbon to the top of the nail and then tie through the hole in the card. Message: “This Christmas Nail is an ornament for you to place at the trunk of your tree representing the tree that Jesus decorated for us with the sacrifice of His life.” Verse: "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8” Home Made Bird Feeders - There are many bird feeders you can make yourself. There are great ideas and info at www.a- home-for-wild-birds.com/build-a-bird.html (ranging from beginner to advanced). Making a bird seed wreath is a messy project, but is a lot of fun for kids! Make Ornaments - Why do kids get all the fun for making ornaments? Begin a new tradition and challenge your friends or family to trade ornaments that each of you make for under $5.00!