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The Christmas Gift…

The kids and I try to do something unique to give back to our community in some way every year at this time.  A few years ago we thought it would be nice to do a white elephant sort of Christmas gift thing through Freecycle. We had left over items from a school bazaar, as well as a bunch of wrapping supplies. So we passed these items on as “surprise” gifts, kinda like a “Secret Santa” sort of thing, for others to fully enjoy.

But also, my 9 year old daughter, at the time, had just lost a special friend just before Christmas to a plane crash. Her friend was only 10 when she died with her brother and parents in that crash. And it really struck close to home.  We decided to do this in rememberance of her loving and lively spirit as well.  It was the first time my kids lost friends.  And the first time a mother and her children disappeared from my “mommy circle” and life as a parent.

Most of the gifts were sort of like stocking stuffers or were perfect for one child to give to another. Most were of most interest to children under the age of 8. None were super expensive or fancy. But each interesting and would be enjoyed.

We completely wrapped them ready to put under someone’s tree, or in a stocking, or taken to a gift exchange.  They weren’t meant to be given to some charity. We already gave extensively to several.  We gave them out as surprises – the recipient having no idea exactly what was inside, except maybe guidance for age or gender. 

We had a resounding response!  Simply giving small surprises to a wide range of people, from a wide range of backgrounds and a wide range of stories and trials to share.

The purpose for the giving of these gifts was not really about someone not having as much as someone else. The purpose of this giving was in reflection of what kids do naturally – give to each other  – simply because – regardless of perceptions of wealth, religion, etc.. 

The gifts were meant to carry on the spirit of gratitude to our community, both givers and receivers.  To bless friends and neighbors without judgement. 

Because simply… this is God.

I hope to do this again this year.  Want to join me?  Post in the comments and tell your friends if you like.  Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a grand surprise giving to our own neighbors and community, that took place all over the world this year, besides the usual charities?  To lift the spirits of a fellow stranger, without any particular reason in the world, except just to Give.  It’s amazing the healing that can take place.  It doesn’t have to be through Freecycle, but it can be a fun community venue, especially for smaller communities.

  1. November 6, 2009 at 12:00 am

    What a lovely idea!

    This isn’t the same thing, but the library I worked at a few years ago does a gift drive every year for a women’s shelter, where there are always women from abusive relationships, often with their kids. Everyone contributes lots of big gifts, then it occurred to me they might like stocking stuffers too so I called the shelter and asked if it was OK to contribute them too, and they were thrilled! Sometimes the little things really do mean a lot.

    Best of luck with your project this year! I will have to give it some thought and see if I can’t manage a little something like that too!

    • November 6, 2009 at 9:33 am

      Amy you are awesome!

      I have done a lot of charity work for cancer patients, family crisis, local children’s home, military and children’s community charities in general. This was something I decided to do with my kids without it having to be for anyone in particular and for no particular reason at all. A lot of folks in our local freecycle group give and give and give. And a lot of folks had been through health issues and death recently. I felt this was a great way to give back to them too. No matter who they were and without regard to a “cause.”

  2. November 7, 2009 at 2:49 am

    If you have friends or relatives who already have everything they need, then check out this site for creative Christmas gift ideas. Gift Idea

  3. November 10, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Thank you for sharing your story.. We are sorry for the loss of your friends.
    I love the idea of the small gifts being exchanged by the children.
    I write about gift exchange ideas to keep people connected, so I would like to share your idea, if that is OK with you???
    You can review my blog (http://albinophantblog.com/)
    Have a great holiday season with your family and keep up the great gift sharing ideas…


    • November 10, 2009 at 10:14 am

      Hi Bruce,

      Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your comments! Actually, my name is Julia Chambers and this is my everyday, write whatever I want to, blog. Yes, you are welcome to share my idea. Just include my name and my blog link in the referrence please? Thank you for asking.

      I looked over your website. Your gift exchange game is a really great idea! I might have to consider a virtual party sometime! I think my version would be something quirky like everyone has to buy something for $5 or less from a thrift-store. Haha.


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