Let me suggest 10 of my favorite things you can buy, a few items you might like to make yourself – and some ways to bring a spiritual focus to more typical gifts.
1. For men or women: a scripture wallet sold by Treasured Word on etsy.com. The wallets, which range from $4-8, hold scripture cards and feature a see-through window in the front for the scripture you’re working on memorizing.
2. For a no-clutter gift: a standard pillowcase with a favorite verse. These cost $20 at local Christian bookstores and are made by people with barriers to employment.
3. For those who like to host: a beautiful, modern kitchen towel with the scripture “They broke bread in their homes & ate together with glad & sincere hearts.” The towel costs $22 from maryandmartha.com. If there is still room in your budget, you could make your own soup mix or barbecue rub and add it to the gift.
4. For those who like to decorate: a lantern that reads “The love of Jesus is the light of the world.” Expect to pay $30 for similar lanterns at dayspring.com and at bookstores.
5. For the young family: a daily devotional that’s perfect for reading at the dinner table. “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing” was written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of my favorite storybook bible of all time, and I can’t recommend her work highly enough. The devotional is $17 – or you can buy a deluxe edition that comes with a set of audio CDs for $25.
6. For the children: a nativity set that’s sturdy enough for the littlest fingers. Think felted wool, wood or plastic.
7. For the slightly sarcastic among us: a T-shirt that has a picture of Jesus with BRB written underneath. They are $13 at SuburbanBasement on etsy.com.
8. For the art-lover: a watercolor painting or ink sketch by artist Michelle Palmer. Her nature-inspired work appears on everything from calendars and cards to fabric and flags. You can find her two stores on etsy.com and you can see glimpses of her projects and follow their progress by liking her Facebook page.
9. For the sailor: a coffee mug with a scripture and blueprint of a boat. Also, miniature boats with verse on their sails. Mugs are $10 at dayspring.com or find them at Christian bookstores and Hobby Lobby. Boats range from $19 to $30 at bookstores.
10. For me (and anyone else who likes silver jewelry): a ring with a faithful message. My two favorites are a band that reads “with God all things are possible” and a ring with a rose-colored crystal surrounded by the words “I am always with you.” Both are $80 at believebands.com.
• Clothespins with a message: Add inspirational words like “hope” and “blessings” with inexpensive rubber stamps. (I bought my tiny alphabet set at A.C. Moore for $1.) Glue magnets to the clothespins or use them to clip on to gifts.
• Advent wreath: My grandparents had a huge black walnut tree in their back yard, and my cousins and I spent hours underneath those branches. When a storm took the tree, we saved some of the trunk and used a slice to create an Advent wreath. Is there something meaningful you could use to celebrate Advent? Maybe you don’t have a drill to make holes for a candle, but do you have bowls or teacups that could hold candles?
• A tray that focuses on serving: Thrift stores seem to always have serving trays in need of upcycling. Why not add something related to faith?
To add a little faith in:
• Binoculars: One of my favorite gifts to give children is binoculars. Why not add a note about the importance of exploring or enjoying God’s creation?
• Rainbow blocks: Blocks in the color and shape of a rainbow ($22, Grimm’s Spiel & Holz) are perfect for reminding people of God’s promises.
• Books as themes: The book “Pirates on the Farm” ($13, Zonderkidz) practically begs to be paired with a pirate ship or a farm play set.