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20 Gift Ideas to Make Christmas Radically Relational

gift ideas to make Christmas radically relational

Christmas is coming.

Maybe that excites you...or maybe not. For every person who shouts, "EGG NOG! DECORATIVE SWEATERS! TINSEL! CHRISTMAS CAROLS!" there's someone who mumbles, "egg nog... decorative sweaters... tinsel... Christmas carols."


I confess that I've been the mumbler. Christmas is awesome and full of divine anticipation - it's the powerful reality of Jesus Christ coming to Earth. But what I struggle with (and can get distracted by) are the logistics of gift-giving and the busy pace of the season. One particularly stressful year I even decided to try a radical approach: my family donated the money we normally spent on gifts to charitable causes instead.

It was an amazing year. We realized that Christmas is less about the stuff under the tree and more about the stuff inside us. It's also about how Christ came to Earth to make our relationship with God whole again. What greater gift is there than that?

The following year we went back to gift-giving, but our perspective had changed. We wanted to put smiles on each other's faces with presents under the tree, but also in ways that still preserved the meaningfulness of our Advent Conspiracy year. To help us stay anchored in Jesus, then and now, we like to use the following question as a guide for gift-giving:

What if every tangible gift we give nurtures our relationships to God and each other?

If you can relate to the tension of wanting to give gifts under the tree while still keeping Jesus the focal-point of the Christmas season, here are a few gift ideas that help do both--

20 Gift Ideas To Make Christmas Radically Relational:

  1. 52 packets of gourmet hot chocolate with a personalized coffee cup: Include a note that says you'd like to share a special time together once a week.
  2. Two journals: Write down the growth you see in each other over the weeks and months ahead, along with prayers for each other. After two months, connect and share it all. Keep it going all year.
  3. Deck of cards with a book on card games or magic tricks: Once a week, play together.
  4. Empty collage photo frame: Fill the frames throughout the new year with snapshots from special activities you do together.
  5. Bottle of sparkling cider and a picnic basket: Have a picnic together, even if it's inside.
  6. Homemade cookie mixes: Take turns making a batch every couple of weeks.
  7. Create an encouraging and fun care package: Let the unique items in these packages invite quality spiritual conversations.
  8. Gourmet popcorn and video rental gift certificates: Have a movie night every week for a month.
  9. Locally made barbecue sauce with basting brush: Spend time together cooking and eating together and invite new friends into your circle.
  10. Pancake or waffle mix and a bottle of real maple syrup: Start off your day together once a week.
  11. Movie theater gift certificates with a calendar of upcoming movie release dates: Take turns picking movies to see together.
  12. Board games: Pick favorite classics or find new ones.
  13. Two copies of a book: Read through it together, pausing after each chapter to debrief.
  14. Basket filled with kitchen gadgets: Determine to find recipes that invite you to try new things as you cook for each other.
  15. Two prepaid $5 debit cards: Explain that you will each need to spend some money on this card each day to buy a unique gift for the other person, but you can't repeat the same gift. See who can get their card to last the longest.
  16. Watches: Sync alarms to go off at the same time each day so you'll remember to pray for each other.
  17. Post-It notepads: Leave encouraging notes for each other in unexpected places.
  18. Puzzles: Take your time putting these together so you create space to also connect and talk.
  19. Tickets to a favorite event: Choose something fun, like a symphony, concert, musical, truck rally or rodeo you'll both enjoy.
  20. Gardening tools: Plan something you'll grow together, including trips to buy the seeds and soil to prepare for the harvest down the road.

Bonus ideas! Being charitable together is a logical next step, and there are many great ministries like Operation Christmas Child to get you started.

Christmas celebrates how God gave us himself. These gift ideas help us give ourselves to God, to those we love, and to those in need.

Do you have any ideas to add to list? Would you ever consider donating to chairitable causes instead of gift giving? 

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