March 21 • 05:55 AM

Friend's column idea a gift that keeps on giving

October 17, 2007
"It must be just about time for me to give you that reminder you told me to give you, about a column idea,'' said a friend at lunch yesterday.

It's a good thing I had asked for a reminder, because her little introduction to it made no connection to my brain, other than that we had had the conversation, and I said as much.

"You get a big box, put 25 wrapped gifts inside, then wrap the whole box up for someone who otherwise probably doesn't get Christmas gifts (or Hanukkah, etc. as the case may be.)"

"Oh. I remember now. Kind of like an Advent calendar."

She did a Cliff Notes version of how she had made up a box for a man who rarely received any gifts. "Twenty-five gifts," she said. "One for each day from the first of December right on through to Christmas Day. Some of them were little more than day brighteners. Things you can buy at a dollar store. Others can be clothing items, or something personal you know they need or would like."

She had gotten the idea from a friend. "You can tell him to save the big packages 'til last,'' the friend had told her.

"You should have seen how much that brightened up the month for him! Anticipation, a reason to look forward to each day, knowing someone cared, the excitement of being able to open gifts (and show them off if he's in a nursing home or so) — all things most of us take for granted."

I've been thinking about that idea, thinking that if you had things that went together, such as batteries for a flashlight, etc., you could number the packages in the order in which you want him to open them. The possibilities are limitless—well, within the bounds of your checkbook anyway, fueled by your imagination.

That conversation followed on the heels of a presentation of the Shoebox Ministry—a giving opportunity through Samaritan's Purse. I'm sure if you ask around, you can find someone who will direct you to details of how you or your family can participate. (I heard about it at my church—Imlay City Christian Reformed Church—and I'm reason-ably sure the church office could tell you how to get an information packet.) Those boxes get mailed fairly early to allow them to be airlifted to target destinations.

I'd like to think it's way too early to be thinking about these holiday ideas, but I know it isn't. Since my friend jumpstarted me into sharing this, I thought I'd best write it up right away before I forget, giving you a little time to think how you could implement one of the ideas. If you have children at home, involve them, allowing them to experience that giving brings them at least as much joy as getting, and maybe even more.

Castle Creek
03 - 21 - 19
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