Christmas can be a difficult time for many people and for many different reasons. But a kind word and personal connection can go a long way in lifting a lonely or sorrowful heart during the Christmas season. And while we know we can’t completely take away someone’s pain, we can definitely bring moments of relief when we reach out with sincere love and compassion.
I’ve compiled a list of simple gifts that could help build a connection between you and someone who might be having a hard time this year. Each gift is meaningful and fun on its own, but it also provides a way for you (and your family too if they want to come along!) to offer relief in specific ways. These ideas could even kick off an annual tradition for your family, bringing fun and cheer year after year. Let’s get into it!
The Gift of Fresh Inspiration
One way to lift our hearts is to elevate our surroundings! Perhaps someone you know would love an inspiring calendar to hang on the wall, offering fresh art each month (like this new gorgeous one from Greg Olsen). Or a simple art print from Kate Lee, Yongsung Kim, or other talented artists to put on the fridge. You could write a little note to accompany your gift, explaining why you chose that piece of art.
A nativity set, either large or small, can remind friends of Christ’s love. Deseret Book has over 400 nativities from 27 different countries, so you can handpick what will suit your recipient’s style. It could be fun to go and give someone a nativity the first week of December so they can enjoy it all holiday season long. You could even offer to them find a place to display the figurines and enjoy an evening of music and fun while you help set it up. Here are a few of our favorite nativities that would make a great gift, but there are so many more on DeseretBook.com.
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I also love these names of Christ ornaments. You could gift someone the entire set to add to their Christmas tree, or you could give individual ornaments as a gift, perhaps praying about which name each person would benefit from most. You could write a note explaining briefly what that name of Christ means to you or why you gave this specific name to them.
The Gift of Fun
When we feel forgotten or lonely, what we might need is a pick-me-up in the form of a laugh. For me, Grandpa Beck's games always do the trick. Some of my favorites are Skull King, Cover Your Assets, and Nuts about Mutts, but there are many more. What I love about giving a card game is that you instantly have a way to connect with whoever you give it to: rather than just dropping off the gift, you could ask to come in and play a quick round.
Another great way to spend time with someone who needs a friend is through a puzzle. I love these beautiful designs. And puzzles are great because they are rarely done in a day, meaning you could come back and spend time with them again.
You could also bring over a new movie for the two of you to enjoy together. I laughed out loud at Once I Was Engaged and Trek: The Movie. Or be inspired by Witnesses, Jane and Emma, or Mission Stories.
The Gift of Comfort
Who doesn’t want to feel comforted and loved during Christmas? While the best comfort comes from friendship, expressing your friendship can be simple. For example, a new plush pair of socks will almost always be appreciated. If you, like many families, have the tradition of giving new socks at Christmas, grab a few extra pairs for others who might like to be in on the tradition.
Or this “Together Matters” blanket will help someone feel relaxed or loved.
The Gift of Learning
If someone is feeling lonely, you could help them find connection in a good book. Gift them one of your favorite books and then call and ask them what they thought about it. Or, you could select a new book for the two of you to read and discuss.
If you are looking for a good paper copy of a book, on the gospel side of things I would recommend the new titles Heart of the Matter by President Russell M. Nelson or Prophets See Around Corners by Sheri Dew.
For something not directly gospel-related but still inspiring, I was thoroughly captivated by Under the Java Moon, an exciting historical fiction novel about life on the island of Java during World War II.
And I’ve heard wonderful things about The Dread Penny Society Collection, a series of five novels by beloved proper romance novelist Sarah Eden. The series is a Victorian romance and the books come in a beautiful, cloth-covered hardcover collector’s anthology.
Or if you have someone who loves to cook, I suggest Delicious Gatherings by Tara Teaspoon, Kneaders Bakery and Cake Cookbook, or The Official Fablehaven Cookbook. Perhaps when you give the gift, you can decide on a time to get together and make one of the recipes. Then, you could take it a step further and go and deliver some of what you make to another friend or someone in your ward, helping to create more connections between friends.
(Or, if you want something a little easier, I love these mixes from the Lion House: brownie mix, muffin mix, or roll mix. These are still delicious and fun to make together, but not quite as time-intensive.)
The Gift of Spiritual Upliftment
We are about to enter a new year of Come, Follow Me. And I know I am very excited to be studying the Book of Mormon. Help others find excitement in the new year with some of our favorite study helps.
If you haven’t tried studying with a Book of Mormon journal edition yet, I highly recommend getting one for yourself and gifting it to a friend. The journals come in many beautiful designs, so you can pick the colors or patterns that would mean the most to someone.
There is also plenty of room inside to write a note of encouragement or love. As you give the gift, you could express your interest in exchanging thoughts about the Book of Mormon reading each week. And that exchange doesn’t have to be anything formal—a text each Sunday night, or a Marco Polo message can help people feel connected and inspired. I also love the beautiful Come, Follow Me manual journal edition, and the cover art this year is beautiful.
Another great way to connect with someone who needs a little love is through studying general conference together. This display flipbook is such a creative, easy way to keep the message of conference present in your home. You could send a quick text each week about what you liked from the talk.
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Another fun option for study is the General Conference Addresses Journal Edition. The wide margins and smudge-free paper are perfect for personal or group study. Perhaps you and a friend could pick a talk of the week or month, take notes on your own, and then come together to share thoughts.
I sincerely hope something on this list will help you connect with someone in your community this Christmas. A little can truly go a long way. We at LDS Living wish you a Merry Christmas!
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