10 December 2013

Make, Bless, Reach: A Different Christmas List

If you are overseas, shipping can cost more than the gift.

If you are overwhelmed, shopping can cost more than the price.

I'm considering a few alternatives this year, and I invite you to join me. Please add to this list, too!


Okay, it's time to get crafty and involve my kids too. (They may even help make their own presents, to their own surprise!)

Rachel, my creative college roommate, shares homemade gifts for young children on her blog and on her FB page. There are so many options here that even those of us abroad can find the supplies needed. Here are some by age level: 1 year olds, 2 year olds, and 3 year olds. Check back too, because it seems she's not done listing these online.

In trying to find something for my husband, I found this site with DIY gifts for men. I really like numbers 7, 15, 29, and 32. (C'mon, I know you want to make that T-shirt and then borrow it sometimes too.)


God-honoring, life-changing projects go year-round, but Christmas is the time when we recognize them the most. It's a good time to start.

The Village of Hope Uganda has a Christmas Catalog from which you can select what to buy for those children, child-mothers, and volunteers. (You can talk with loved ones about sending a donation in their honor, or you could request this for yourself instead of gifts.) On a side note, the founder of the Village is Cindy Cunningham (who was my kindergarten teacher); even though she herself underwent a tumultuous year (health-wise), she's exuberant about Christ's love, prayer, and these children in Uganda.

Or make it very personal and donate toward an adoption. Adopting across continents is expensive, and Christmas is a wonderful time to give toward bringing a child home. If you do not know anyone in this process, I have two friends who would welcome your help and your friendship too: the Bennetts adopting Zoey from China and the Beverlys adopting Grace Renee from Ethiopia.

Yet another way to bless is to purchase gifts that support causes like Nightlight in Bangkok, Thailand. The women rescued from trafficking there are taught a trade (like making jewelry) so they can support themselves. When giving a gift like this, you also have the blessing of involving your loved ones in life-changing ministries. A number of my friends in Bangkok can testify to the effectiveness and hope of Nightlight.


The commercialism is crazy loud; do your ears hurt too? Behind the sales and the jingle bells and the twinkle lights, do you hear the soft murmur of wanting? People want closeness and companionship, and it would seem this holiday brings those things wrapped up in warm blankets and pretty presents. That wanting, though tampered with, is not sufficed. Does your heart ache too--longing to reach out, to touch those around who are hurting, who are lonely, who are lost? Do you want to reach out and save someone from despair or dead-end pursuits?

Of course we know that we truly cannot save anyone--only Jesus can. We truly cannot convict anyone--only the Holy Spirit can. We truly cannot instill hope and identity and security into anyone--only the Father can. But He invites us to join Him, and we must be willing. Have you considered any of these options before? Will you consider them now?

Is there someone you could invite to sit down with you (once a week?) to study the Bible, someone who is already in your life and looks to you as an example?

Can you think of someone who does not have a place to call home for Christmas? If you are abroad, do you know of someone or a group of people who would appreciate spending the holidays together--and are you willing to host? If you are in your hometown, do you know of foreigners in your area--exchange students, military families, or others--who might love to join you?

Foster care and/or Adoption
Have you considered it? Can you look into it? If you're married, have you and your husband talked about the possibility? If it's not something you can do right now, do you know someone who is involved (either in foster care or in the process of adoption) that may need help (gathering baby gear or clothes sizes, for instance)?

Sending Cards to Un-expecting Recipients
And here's a simple thing that could brighten a day: a card coming from someone unexpected. We have our Christmas card list, and most likely you do too. Our list is made up of friends and family members, many from whom we'll receive likewise seasonal greetings. But what if we sent a card to someone without expecting anything back?

So this is my list of Christmas gift thoughts, and I'd love to hear your responses and/or additions. And in case you were wondering, I am planning to buy gifts too. I tend to give books, and--to borrow from Little Women--if there is interest, maybe another [post] will follow up on that.


  1. As a person abroad, I am excited about a list like this that highlights the things we can all do to celebrate!

  2. Great ideas, Malia! Thanks for sharing. And thank you for letting me add to your list!

    There is a neat opportunity to do some Christmas shopping that will benefit people abroad. ! and impact Paris for Christ at the same time.

    My dear friend Sarah Jonsgaard is an ambassador for Noonday Collection, which features and sells beautiful handmade fair trade accesories. For a limited time you can also help impact Paris for Christ with your Christmas shopping! From now until Christmas, 10% of your purchases from Sarah's Noonday website will go towards the funds needed for me to serve on the mission field in France. (I'll be serving Paris for at least three years.)

    Check out Sarah's page (http://sarahjonsgaard.noondaycollection.com/) to get started!

    P.S. When you make your purchase, please select Sarah Jonsgaard as the ambassador and me (Jazz Jones) as the host. Thanks!


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