Today we found out some long-time friends of ours may have to leave their dream jobs in Thailand because the NPO they work for is out of funds. Their salary has been reduced by half these past few months, and with their savings depleted their only hope is to return to the States and look for work. Another friend is living with her in-laws, while a third has had to relying on his to help make ends meet. Still another had to take her child out of his beloved preschool because of financial strain.
Even when times are tight, there is part deep within us that longs to give presents to our loved ones. Not just because it is â€œthe thing to do,â€ but because generosity is an impulse that cannot be denied â€“ a part of our deep humanity. If we are made â€œin the image of God,â€ then perhaps generosity is a Divine attribute which longs to shine out from our core. If we are followers of the Light, then we can see this impulse as something which contributes to the glow we want to nurture in ourselves and others.
Even when times are trying, we want to give. So here are *8Things you can offer to someone you love. Many take little more than a piece of paper and postage stamp. All of them are simple enough that you can accomplish them without elaborate plans or loads of time. May one of these allow you to bless someone with your generous heart this season, and may abundance ride besides you every step of your journey.
- Sing me Song, Piano Man: Can you croon, strum, tap the keys? Give your loved ones the gift of a candle lit song this season.
- *8 Days A Week: Got 12 favorite quotes that inspire and sustain you? Write them on some nice paper and give someone as a yearâ€™s worth of encouragement.
- Stuck on You: Need a gift for a child? Got stickers floating around in your craft gear? Little oneâ€™s donâ€™t mind if you snip off the used bits and give them an envelope full of extras. In fact, the LOVE it.
- I Hope You Donâ€™t Mind, That I Put Down in Words: I have an envelope full of notes and printed-off emails from people who took the time to tell me true things about my life, my character, and my work. I need them to carry me through the dark. Give the gift of a letter. You never know how deeply it may matter.
- Brand New Day: Do you have some favorite tunes that help your day get off to a good start? Make a list (or a CD) for someone with all your favorite morning songs.
- No More Bread and Butter: I love discovering a new recipe! Write down a few of your specialties for your friends, or create a list of your favorite food blogs.
- Workinâ€™ for a Living: Do you know someone who has a dreaded chore? Â Maybe they hate washing their car, or donâ€™t know a thing about mulching the garden. Personally, I hate polishing shoes. Â Taking a chore off their to-do list would be a lovely gift.
- All I Ever Get for Christmas is Blue: Are the same cheesy Christmas songs driving you batty? Maybe theyâ€™re making your friendâ€™s nuts too. Make â€˜em a mixed tape of some not-so-traditional tunes. (Songs from Over the Rhine and Harp 46 are a nice start.)
What are your ideas for *8Things: Generous Gifts for Trying Times? Put on your thinking cap and give us your tips in the comments below, or grab a button and play along by putting your permalink in the list below.