Christmas gift ideas to make St. Nick smile

By 
  • December 10, 2007

manger.pngEditor’s note: If you are scrambling for gift ideas during this third week of Advent let us assure you that there is an alternative to the cult of shopping mall madness. We challenge you to root through our free or inexpensive homemade last-minute gift ideas guide. Give with a social and ecological conscience in the spirit of Bishop St. Nicholas of Myra whose compassionate generosity, albeit twisted by our modern day consumer culture, points to a greater reality — the greatest gift of all: the coming of Jesus Christ.

Happy Advent
from the Youth Speak News Team

Free

  • Light a candle at Christmas Mass for someone.
  • “Share a Christmas time story with a younger relative or sibling.” – Peter Grbac
  • turkey.jpgPaper mache prayer box with words of strength and inspiration from the Scriptures.
  • Go hiking, skiing or some other fun outdoor activity.
  • “Gift certificate for babysitting one’s child, giving massages, completing chores or giving unlimited hugs.” – Andrew Santos
  • Make a fun YouTube video, especially if it’s for someone far away.
  • Give a prayer bouquet. Offer up a Mass, pray a rosary, spend an hour in eucharistic adoration and/or fast. You can try using flowers to represent different prayers -— a rose to represent one Mass, some greens to represent maybe a novena to their patron saint on their behalf.
  • “Weather permitting, make a snow person/object for your person and bring them outside, blindfolded, singing Christmas carols to experience it.” – Daniel Telech
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve or spend part of Christmas day at a seniors' residence.
  • Write a personalized prayer for someone.
  • Use your artistic creativity and write a song, paint/draw a picture or take a nice photo like a photo of their house after a snowfall or anything significant. – Nisheeta Menon

Homemade

  • Tree ornaments such as macaroni angels, painted pine cones or dough dolls.
  • Hand-made all-twine knotted rosary. See rosaryarmy.com.
  • origami_crane.jpg“Buy old vinyl records at a thrift store, heat them in the oven and mould them into bowls. Then fill them with Christmas cookies and other treats.” – Rebecca Ryall
  • Design a personalized prayer card or prayer book. Compile some of your favourite prayers, maybe a few novenas to different saints with a little bit of information on each saint beside the novena, put in or draw some meditative pictures.
  • Swedish Christmas Cookies delivered in a box decorated with things that mean a lot to you and the person who is getting the gift like memories. See www.about.ch/culture/food/mailaenderli.html.
  • “I would say a scrapbook. It’s what I made my boyfriend -— sshh, don’t tell him! It cost me a grand total of $4.” – Christine Rose
  • Origami. It doesn’t take too long and it shows that you actually put effort into making it. Lots of instructions online.
  • Hand-drawn or computerized calendar.
  • Make a mixed CD with your favourite Christmas carols. Record introductions before each song like a radio show. Most computers have voice recorders, so it’s very easy to do.
  • Candles. Role a sheet of beeswax around a wick into long-stemmed candles.

Socially minded

  • “Precious Feet Pins. I love these. Lots of fun discussions have sprung from these little pins.” See www.prolifepins.com/catalog. – Nicole Lau
  • Make a trip to the supermarket and buy nonperishable items for your local food drive.
  • ccareCat.jpgDonate to a charity such as Development and Peace or Catholic Missions in Canada in the recipient’s name.
  • For $10 you can buy chicks and ducklings for a family or mosquito netting; $20 buys four rabbits and $25 buys a school uniform, bag and shoes for a student or a doctor or dentist check-up. Christian Childcare International sends out thank you cards telling your loved one about the gift that’s on its way to someone living in poverty.
  • Lots of great organizations like L’Arche and the Sisters of St. Joseph sell gifts at this time of year, where your money will go to supporting their programs.
  • “For younger girls, maybe a purity ring (I’m thinking my little sister).” – Elena Feick
  • Fair trade anything from Ten Thousand Villages. It has picture frames, handmade jewelry, home decor and tons of other cool stuff to suit everyone on your list.
  • Fair trade coffee that you can enjoy after a Christmas meal -—– the coffee tastes even better when you know where the money is going.
  • Pair the coffee with a reusable mug.
  • www.kiva.org gift certificates.
  • Scented potpourri.
Apple spice recipe:
3 tbsp dried apple slices
1/2 cup coloured carnation petals
1/4 cup dried sweet woodruff leaves
2 tbsp crumbled cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
1 whole nutmeg, grated (1 1/2 tsps)
1 tbsp whole cloves
3 drops of cinnamon or vanilla scented oil
More recipes found at www.familycorner.com.
  • “Volunteer your time and the recipient’s time to a local charity, food bank or soup kitchen.” – Amy Crofts
  • Arrange for a choir that is raising funds for a good cause to come and carol at the person’s house.

 

Environmentally conscious

  • bonsai.jpgTry a Bonsai tree, a bamboo plant or a magic plant. See www.message-plant.com.
  • “Hangers. Pad an ordinary hanger with biodegradable plastic bags to give it volume, leaving the hook out and wrap it up with ribbon.” – Carine Lee
  • A composter or assorted recycling bins.
  • A pack of eco-friendly low energy light bulbs.
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Hunt for it at a used book store.
  • “Rechargeable batteries for the tech gadget that they can’t live without.”– Lauren van Vliet
  • Presents made from recycled materials. For example, a doll; use old sweaters as stuffers and cover over with ribbons and fabric from old shirts.
  • Assorted recycling bins or a composter.
  • Stapleless Stapler. Google it. There’s a Crayola one at Staples, ironically enough.”– Dylan Robertson
  • Personalized canvas/duffel bag for grocery shopping.
  • Home-made stationary in a paper mache box.
  • “A basket of eco-friendly cleaning supplies.” –Vanessa Baker
  • Wrap your gifts in newspaper. It's good for the environment and let’s you be creative. Try adding colour with paint or markers.

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