Magi Inspired Gifts #5: Giving Outside the Box

For the 5th gift idea, I’m going to give your pocketbooks a break.  So far, most of the suggestions have involved spending money (chopping off your hair and donating extra canned goods doesn’t count).  I know that this time of year especially, money can be tight, since our Christmas lists can get long, and the heating bills get even more hefty.

So, can one give like a magi without spending money?  The answer is yes, but it requires that we still meet those same 3 criteria I set up in my first post.  The gift needs to be sacrificial, it needs to glorify Jesus, and it should be meaningful or significant for the recipient.

In his bestselling book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman describes five unique ways that people tend to give and receive love:  Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.  I’d like to argue that all these acts can be magi inspired gifts, if they meet the three requirements, listed above.  It just depends on the person who is receiving the gift and whether or not it would be significant for him or her.

Let’s face it.  Some people are present people.  They love getting stuff.  It doesn’t matter what, but if it’s wrapped in a package and meant for them, they’re happy as can be.  Other people aren’t so hot about presents and would prefer that you wash their car for them or cook them dinner when they’re not feeling well.  Those acts of service are much greater gifts to them. 

At Christmas, this can translate into a lot of different gift ideas.

For the Words of Affirmation person, write them a letter telling them how much they mean to you. Make them a memento that says “World’s Greatest Mom” or “World’s Greatest Handyman,” if that suits them. 

For the Quality Time person, plan a vacation together as your present.  Give them a Starbucks card with instructions that it’s for going to coffee together.  Write out coupons for events that they might want to do with you sometime. 

For the Acts of Service person, wrap gifts that indicate work, and offer to do it.  For example, wrap gardening tools and promise to weed the garden.  You could do the same with car wash supplies.  Serve a busy mother by cleaning for her or doing some babysitting.  These kinds of people really like getting coupon books they can cash in for services from family members, such as mowing the lawn or folding the laundry.

The physical touch person just needs lots of hugs and cuddling, and if you’re married, more than that.  I’ll leave it at that for now.

I think this mentality can also translate to charitable giving and church related giving.  Acts of service in our community include volunteering at any local organization that needs help, especially around the holidays.  The Salvation Army is always looking for holiday volunteers.  Local food banks and homeless shelters continually need volunteer help as well.  Your church home is a great place to volunteer your time and service as a gift.  Even if you don’t have a lot of money to give to your church, you can offer the gift of your sacrificial assistance in the nursery or in another underserved ministry.

Hope this helps you “think outside the box”  (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). 

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Published in: on December 18, 2007 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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