Christmas is coming, and my wallet isn’t nearly as fat as it was last year. This year some real creativity is called for if I’m going to have gifts for everyone on my list. That’s what I was thinking about last week when out of the blue, my awesome sister-in-law unknowingly provided the answer: gifts of service.
You see, the Paranoid Dad is extremely proficient when it comes to everything electrical. His sister has been longing for outdoor lights on their patio, and when he drew her name in the family gift drawing, she said, “What I really want for Christmas is for you to put up those lights for me!” This started me thinking about giving in a whole new way.
Unlike a new tie, a gift card, bedroom slippers or just about any other gift you can think of, a gift of service is primarily given with the needs of the recipient in mind. Stay-at-home moms with young children and homeschooling moms would love nothing more than to have a couple of free hours every now and then to themselves. How about offering a, “Mom’s Day Out” coupon to provide free childcare once a month? Any working mom would likely cry at the offer of half a dozen frozen homemade dinners, and a dad too busy working long hours to tend to his backyard would love having an extra pair of hands, or two, or three, to help pull weeds and mow.
See what I mean? A gift of service comes directly from your heart to touch the heart of someone in need. The gift is unique and unforgettable and can be given as often during the year as you like. What talents or skills do you have that might fulfill a need in the life of a friend or family member?
It may take some time, observations, and some clever conversations on your part to figure out what service you could provide.
This time next year my sister-in-law won’t remember who gave her which gift twelve months earlier, but she’ll never forget who installed her patio lights.