Friday, November 13, 2009


Last night I taught a lesson on wise (and creative) holiday giving for the women’s organization at my church.  I think it turned out well, and thought I would share it with you.   I’ve inserted some pictures of the gift display that I pulled together for it.  Enjoy!


An Authentic Christmas

Fall 635

Many of you have likely heard the saying:

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

We tend to associate it with situations of dire financial need, the extreme, The Great Depression…times like that. In reality, this spirit of resourcefulness and responsibility is something that we need to be working towards at all times, no matter our current financial situation. Remembering that each of the blessings that we enjoy have been given to us by another, that we are responsible for how we use those blessings is essential. Our stewardship over the blessings we have been given needs to be handled in wisdom.

Fall 632

The lessons of wise stewardship are vividly taught in the parable of the ten talents. To be profitable servants, we must improve that which the Lord has entrusted to us. Stewards are managers, and sound management reduces waste and ensures an appropriate return on invested resources. How happy were those who, acting in wisdom with all their resources were met by the Lord and told:

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.”

 Fall 633Now the goal is not necessarily to be the ruler over many things…but we do need to be faithful over the few things we have been given.

During the Holiday season it is especially urgent that we focus on being wise stewards over our blessings. It is so easy to get caught up in things and over extend our stewardship. Whether it is our time, energy, or financial resources, there is no glory in overextending our stewardship…and we will be held responsible…whether it’s the bank statement in January or the more crucial judgement of the Lord.


So how do we wisely oversee our stewardship this Christmas season?

Keep things in focus by asking these questions:

-WHO do you need to give to? – While there are many, many people in our lives that we love, interact with daily, and truly appreciate, it is not always necessary or prudent to exchange purchased gifts at Christmas time. Although it is sometimes very difficult we need to remember not to spread our circle too wide and overextend ourselves. As Relief Society sisters we rejoice in serving and giving to others…and that is something we should most definitely focus on during the Holidays. But keep it real. Decide what you can realistically do wisely utilizing your time, talents, and resources and draw the line! Fall 634

-WHAT do your recipients need, want, and can realistically care for? Keep in mind that after the gift is received it is now the responsibility of the recipient. Be careful not to place undo burden with our gifts.

-WHY are you giving to that person? Why do we give at all? If it becomes a gift because you are expected, or required to give, rather than an opportunity to show another how much we love and appreciate them, than try to adjust the situation. Ask yourself if giving something, anything, simply because you are “supposed” to is worth it.

One Holiday season while I was in High School I found myself involved in 4 different Secret Santa exchanges. Seriously…four. Young Womens, Work, Spanish class, and a school club. It was too much. I was saving every penny for college and had a large family to give gifts too, and was overwhelmed by all of these extra gifts…not just the money…but the time and effort that it would take to come up with and make or purchase all of those little trinkets, for Secret Santa exchanges, that for me felt hollow. It was not the spirit that any of them wanted, and really took the fun out of it for me. I ended up just rotating the gifts I received from one to give to another. It was quite the juggling act!

Fall 638

-HOW to keep it real? Whether it means closing in your circle, learning how to make gifts, setting a strict budget and sticking to it, or any other adjustments that are necessary to keep it real. To make for ourselves and our loved ones a truly authentic Christmas.

I wanted to share a collection of gift ideas that can be simply, economically, and resourcefully put together. No matter your budget these gifts can be adapted and personalized to suit both giver and receiver. Included are several simple but lovely gifts to give those sisters that you visit this Holiday Season.

My hope is that you are inspired by some of these ideas and can go home and incorporate them into your own giving this season.

Fall 636


We discussed how to package canned goods beautifully, things to gather to make wonderful gift baskets and themed gifts, ideas for edible gifts, and lots of holiday niceties.  Always nice to get those holiday juices flowing!!


Heather said...

Holiday gift giving has become a struggle for me as well, to balance the idea of wanting to show someone how much they are loved, and not really knowing if what I am giving is a representation of those feelings.

Thanks for sharing this very thought provoking post

Ashley said...

What a beautiful spread of Christmas goodness! I find that the gifts that are homemade, are the best to both give and receive. You can't improve upon a gift of one's love, time, talents, and thoughtfullness. I didn't realize that you are LDS. So am I! I am really excited about the Holidays, it is the perfect time of year for all sorts of homemade wonderfullness1

Lorena said...

such a nice post. i love giving and receiving homemade gifts - sadly so many people look at is as being cheap..........its very frustrating. if only they knew how many hours go into thinking up the perfect gift - then planning it and finally making it! i should just print this out and give it to those people instead of a gift this year - printed out on homemade paper at least ;-)

quirky granola girl said...

Thank you for this post. I've really been struggling with gift giving with my family. We were brought up as kids to make homemade gifts and chose gifts with care, but now my dad has requested no more handmade gifts and my brother only wants gift cards and I end up going to a bunch of stores that I don't like to shop at just to get certificates that they want. If I get a creative idea, it ends up shot down and I feel bad about it like I've been rejected. I'd like to get out of the gift cycle with my parents and immediate family as I feel that the visit is enough gift, but they insist on detailed wish lists and spending specific dollar amounts. It all makes me feel yucky. I know what I want to do, but I don't know how to make it happen without hurting the feelings of people that I love. Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the tone of this post. It makes me feel like it might be possible to have holidays that I feel good about someday.

Hannah said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate these comments. I wasn't sure about posting this, wasn't sure how it would be recieved, but I am find so many kindred women out there. Thank you so much for your responses. I have had, and do have, many of the same struggles with gift giving for part of my family and it is always nice to know you're not alone, and that others are working toward the same goal. Happy Holidays!!

Anonymous said...

I attended this class and was, absolutely,
inspired! The others there were delighted with
your ideas and displays. How do I know? Because they lingered and talked and asked
questions. It was a wonderful evening and we thank you!!
Susan Allaire

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