When you've run out of time to shop or order anything, these ideas will have you covered!
It was December 23 and I was happily putting a bow on the last present I had to wrap before Christmas. Then, the doorbell rang. Assuming it was just the UPS driver alerting me to a delivery, I didn’t get up and open the door immediately. So imagine my surprise when a few minutes later I opened the door to see my next-door neighbor grinning broadly and holding out a huge gift bag! I thanked him profusely, as he wished me a Merry Christmas and tramped back next door through the snow. The gifts inside the bag were so thoughtful and personal to our family that I felt incredibly touched. And then I thought, oh dear, I should give him something too!
Has this ever happened to you? Undoubtedly, the week of Christmas arrives and you realize you forgot a gift for someone. Maybe it’s a teacher or a neighbor or a coworker, and the clock is ticking. You don’t have time to get something shipped, even from Amazon. So what can you do with what you already have at home, or by making a quick trip to the grocery store?
1The food basket
Food is a universal love language, and is only a quick stop away at your local grocery store. If you are aware of the special dietary needs of the person to whom you’re giving the food, it makes the gift that much more personal. If you’re not sure, stick with hot drinks or fruits and vegetables. Here are some ideas for what food to get:
- Try a mini charcuterie board with some cheese, crackers, and grapes.
- Create a warm beverage gift box with some hot chocolate mix (homemade if you want — just mix some cocoa powder and twice as much powdered sugar with a pinch of salt and cinnamon) and tea or coffee with a small bag of cookies.
- Corn chips and salsa and a Corona beer make for a nice snack box with a nod to the virus.
- A bell pepper, some carrots, and a tub of hummus make for a nice, fresh option that most people are able to consume.
A nice presentation makes the gift more special, so cut off the flaps of a small cardboard box and wrap it with extra Christmas wrapping paper before putting the food in. Add bows and tissue paper. And voila! A sweet little gift that you can give to just about anyone.
2The gift of service
No need to leave your house for this gift — at least not yet. Get out your paper and a pen, or open a blank document on your computer, and create a coupon for an act of service or two. If you’re giving one to a coworker, consider whether there are office chores that you’re all supposed to do. Could you do some extra chores to make someone’s life easier? For your children’s teachers or your teachers, are there any school supplies you can provide when school starts again or can you help give some time to organize or disinfect a classroom? What about a coupon for helping a neighbor with yard work?
For some people, receiving help with a project says “I appreciate you” much louder than anything else. So, consider what might make this person’s life easier, and how you might be equipped to help him or her.
3The spiritual bouquet
A spiritual bouquet is a gift of prayer. This one requires a card or paper and some commitment and your memory. Offering to pray for others is a beautiful way to thank them and support them. But a word to the wise: if remembering who you have offered to pray for is not your strong suit, make a note to yourself with what prayers you said you would pray. Then, put the note in a prominent place so you’ll see it again before next Christmas, or add reminders to your 2021 calendar. Some ideas include: offering a Rosary, a Mass, or a certain number of Hail Marys and Our Fathers for someone. Or you could offer to pray a novena to a saint who is special to them for their intentions. Let them know in a card how, specifically, you are going to pray for them, and with what prayers. It makes it much more meaningful when you know how someone is praying for you!