My brother-in-law, Kurt, would always wait until the last minute to send us a gift. It was not like he was searching for the perfect gift. He would always send money, as late as possible. One year, it even arrived on Christmas Day. He was generous and fun. We miss Kurt. He still reminds me of the ultimate last-minute gift giver.
How about you? Need some last-minute gift ideas that will not break the bank as well as bring peace and smiles?
#1 – The Gift of Encouragement. This gift does not cost a thing yet brings a powerful effect. Write a hand-written letter, not just a note, with the healing and uplifting words of encouragement. Depression and anxiety levels have risen to records high in our nation. People are maxed out. When stress is high, patience is low. Our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors get our worst instead of our best. Those closest to us often receive the brunt of our frustration and anger. In the letter, specifically, call out character traits and actions unique to them that you and others value. My wife and I spend a decent amount of time separated these days between new grandbabies and caring for aging parents. We have a tradition of writing to each other every day while separated. During one week of separation, I wrote Sharlyne a note every day calling out a specific character trait or actions which not only I but others appreciate about her. She printed those out and place them in our fireproof safe. Without really thinking much about it, I gave her a gift of a lifetime. Words are powerful. Steward them wisely. Give a gift to others that does not cost a thing that will last a lifetime.
#2 – The Gift of Time. This is the gift that keeps on giving. For my 60th birthday, Sharlyne and my kids created a book of pictures with letters from each child and significant others. I treasure the book for all the reasons mentioned above. As I read each letter from my children, one thing stood out. Time. I was busy but made space for weekly Daddy Dates with my kids. I made space in the mornings to cook breakfast and blessed them before going off to school. The gift of time can be special moments that came from planning and intention. And, the gift of time can be simply showing up and being present moment by moment, day by day. How about wrapping a present of time this Christmas? A weekly “date” with your spouse. Don’t need to spend much money. You can take turns planning your weekly time together. The focus is time, not elaborate and expensive dates. How about your kids or friends? Create space regularly in your calendar. If something got in my calendar, then it happened. Without clearing the space, chances of it happening were rare.
#3 – The Gift of Serving. You may be a server constantly thinking of how to help others. If serving others is not top of mind for you, this can be an amazing gift to others around you. How about doing all the dishes for the Christmas meal? Or how about recycling boxes and Christmas paper after gifts are opened? Want a stretch? Plan to come back the day after Christmas to help clean. You can help take down Christmas decorations after New Year’s. Even better, think of something your partner, friend, co-worker, or neighbor would appreciate all year. Shoveling snow, bringing in the garbage cans, getting or making coffee, mopping the floors, making food, and so many other ways to serve that simply tell others you care. Life is not about you. Life is about sharing and caring. Give the gift of serving for Christmas and all year. Sharlyne is naturally a server. When I serve her, it speaks volumes. Little things like cleaning her car, loading the dishwasher, making her a latte constantly communicate she is important and loved.
There you have it. Three simple gifts that will not break the bank and bring peace and smiles to those you love. Merry Christmas from Doctor Peace.