Give the Gift of Relationship this Christmas

Are you wondering what to give your loved ones (who don’t need anything) for Christmas? 

I have an idea for you!

Invest in your relationships this Christmas.

Christmas gift giving in my extended family has morphed from all of us exchanging gifts with each other (very fun when children were little) to gifting just one family member (more manageable as gift desires went from Matchbox to X-Box). Then we increasingly asked ourselves, “What do you buy for your twenty-something niece or nephew?”  Right.  Cash or a gift card.  Always appreciated, I’m sure, but not particularly memorable.

So, we decided to spend our gift-giving budgets in a fun family event instead of stuff. 

IMG_0973

Last weekend we celebrated our second annual “Thanksgiftsmas.”  (Christmas gift event celebrated over Thanksgiving weekend.)

Generation Two

Generation Two

All four generations of us spent three days together in a large home along the beautiful Lake Michigan shore. 

Generation Three and Four

Generations Three and Four

The experience exceeded my high expectations for at least four reasons:

  1. Fun.  Yep, we simply had fun.  The weekend wasn’t about an elaborate meal or a car load of gifts or any particular agenda; our only objective was to enjoy being together.   We played goofy games, laughed a lot, and ate too much.  Mission accomplished.
  2. Interpersonal interactions.  Typically our family interactions occur in large groups commemorating major life events or celebrating birthdays and holidays.  We all live just far enough apart so that spontaneous one on one converAround the tablesations are rare. Three whole days in one house gave us time and opportunity for meaningful interpersonal moments.  These are the gifts I think I will most cherish.
  3. Intergenerational interactions.  Throughout the weekend we noticed random assortments of grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and siblings in conversation with each other.  These table-top talks were comfortable, natural and enjoyable.  Priceless.
  4. Family Friday eclipsed Black Friday.  No contest.

It is especially appropriate to invest in relationships at Christmas time. 

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus, God himself, born in human skin as a baby.  He lived in perfect relationship with his Father and with the people around him.  Then he died as the necessary perfect sacrifice for our sins, for it is our sin that separates us from God.

Why?  What was in it for Him?

 He did it because he loves us.  He did it so that we can be in relationship with Him for eternity. 

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”  1 John 3:1

Relationships are eternally valuable to God.  They are our most valuable gifts.  Let’s invest in them

How do you spend time with your family at Christmas?

What is your family’s Christmas gift exchange arrangement?

P.S. Note the page Christmas Collection in between “About” and “Contact Judy” for links to several posts of Christmases past.

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About Judy

At heart I am a student of truth, an observer of culture, and a communicator. Jesus is my teacher and my Lord. In pursuit of these passions, I read as much as I can, serve as Teaching Director for a Community Bible Study group, and write a blog in an attempt to synthesize it all. I take great delight in my relationships with family and friends, and I also enjoy long walks, bike rides and cooking. And did I mention that I like to read?
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7 Responses to Give the Gift of Relationship this Christmas

  1. Donna Nelson says:

    I agree! Having good relationships with others is the best gift we can give each other. so glad that you and your family had a great Thanksgifting.

  2. Cara Olsen says:

    Yes, Judy, Amen! It’s took us a while, but we figured out that what we love most about the holidays is (drum roll, please) being together!!! Good food doesn’t hurt, but presents are unnecessary when you have the big 4, shelter, food, health, and love. Better to fill a an actual need then your own bottomless wish well.

    Thank you, hope you’re well!

    ~ C

  3. Helen Henderson says:

    What am awesome idea! Loved it!

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. I love this idea! My favorite gifts growing up, weren’t actual gifts at all… They were the times that the entire extended family gathered together – Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the fun, the food, the anticipation, candlelight, carols, the Christmas story being read aloud – these are the greatest gifts I remember. It is my hope that I too, can pass on something similar to my own boys. :) As usual, great food for thought! <3 Shannon

    • Judy says:

      Hi Shannon! My best childhood Christmas memories, like yours, are of the people, the moments, the smells, and the laughter; not so much about the wrapped gifts. I wonder if most people would say the same thing. Glad you like the idea – it’s working really well for our family! Have a blessed Saturday! Judy

      • Debbie says:

        I’m on board with you, Judy . . .and Shannon. It’s the memories of being together that I remember the most and that mean the most. Thank you for bringing that to us the way you did! It really helps put the whole gift giving into proper perspective! And thank you for sharing about your Thanksgifting! God bless you!

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