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Letters to Santa

Love Inspired Historical, Nov. 2011

By Debbie Kaufman

Tis’ the season.  Okay, I can say that now that Thanksgiving is officially over.  Typically I refuse to think of any other holiday until the turkey is a vague memory.  But, once the last slice of pumpkin pie has hit my thighs, I start in on my Christmas gift-giving list.  This year I’m slow off the mark since it is my release month and somebody still expected dinner and all the trimings.

Whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, you’re probably like me and tasked with a lot of the buying.  Every year I struggle with the gift-giving for the same two people.  And, like me, I’m betting you too have at least one difficult person to buy for every year.

The first is my younger son.  The problem?  He has no dependents, disposable income, and a strong impulse to buy what he wants when he sees it.  Oh, I know what he likes and would want, the problem is that he’s already bought it.  Heaven forbid I should buy that new video game and put it under the tree cause its twin is already in one of the game consoles before my credit card has finished the full swipe.  Gift cards are my friend.

The second is my husband.  He has most tools known to man, and even if he didn’t, I wouldn’t know a useful tool if it threatened to ratchet me.  The other problem is he doesn’t want anything for himself.  Problem solved, right?  Wrong.  Apparently I can’t handle him not having a present to open when all the rest of us are busy ripping paper.

So, I’ve found a compromise that makes both our hearts happy and gives back to others at the same time.  Perhaps it is one you can use too.  I give my dear one a charitable donation every year in his name.  I can’t begin to tell you how excited he is to know that some village somewhere got a goat or a chicken or a sewing machine in his name.  He lights up like a kid who just saw Santa’s sleigh fly off the roof.

There’s nothing wrong with toys, books, clothes, electronics, etc. on your gift-giving list.  However, if you have a difficult person to buy for or someone who is devoted to a particular cause, giving a gift in their name might be the solution.  My husband feels he has

Gospel for Asia-$25.00

enough stuff and would much rather I spend the money where it would do some good.  And it follows along the family devotion to missions and outreach (www.debbiekaufman.com/missions )

I haven’t decided what barnyard animal he’s giving or what missionary might receive a lantern or a bicycle in his name, but below are a few of my favorite donation sites.  Feel free to share yours.  Or tell us what you do for that difficult to shop for person on your list.

www.gospelforasia.org

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

www.compassioninternational.org

Pam Asberry - November 29, 2011 - 12:41 am

What a great idea, Deb! Since I am on a tight budget I make a lot of my gifts, but donating to charity is an excellent idea. Also this year my music school is supporting the organiation Beading To Beat Autism, attempting to make and sell 300 beaded bracelets in 30 days (suggested donation only $3). 200 down, 100 to go – maybe some of our readers would like to buy bracelets as stocking stuffers. If so, please contact me!

Sandra Elzie - November 29, 2011 - 6:44 am

Hi Deb,
Yes, I also have two of those difficult people to buy for…mainly because all the men in my life share the same type of brain. (my hubby, son & son-in-law)

Those of you who know how techie challenged I am will KNOW there’s no way I’d know what to buy them from an electronics store. So they end up with clothes or gift cards. (they’re my friends too.)

Marilyn Baron - November 29, 2011 - 6:51 am

Debbie,

Great idea about the gift you give your husband. My husband is another one who really doesn’t seem to want or need anything. He is difficult to shop for. I try to buy him clothes and he says he doesn’t want them. Since last year, I’d been trying to get him to buy an Apple IPad but he said he didn’t need it, now that I’ve finally convinced him, he’s never without it. He likes to read newspapers on the IPad when we’re on vacation. Tools would be a great present because he loves to fix things but, like your husband, I think he has every tool known to man already and I wouldn’t even begin to know how to shop for tools. My girls love clothes of any kind so they’re easy to shop for. I love presents so I will be happy with anything, primarily books.

Linsey Lanier - November 29, 2011 - 7:13 am

Debbie,
I don’t buy the line he doesn’t want anything for himself. He does, even if it’s the warm feeling you give him with a donation in his name. What a very sweet and thoughtful gift. It’s so you. :)

Hubby and I surprise each other with little gifts throughout the year, but for bigger items, we just say what we want and even pick it out ourselves. It takes awhile to think of something, so maybe we are starting to fall into that “doesn’t need anything” category, after all.

Giving to charity is a terrific idea. Can anyone recommend a reputable battered women’s shelter to donate to?

Debbie Kaufman - November 29, 2011 - 7:53 am

Pam, what a great charity idea. Send me the link or a pic and I’ll put it up.

I’ve seen pics of your work. You’re the kind of talented gal who makes everyone wish they were on your Christmas list!

Debbie Kaufman - November 29, 2011 - 7:54 am

Sandy, thank goodness for gift cards! What did we ever do before those things?

Debbie Kaufman - November 29, 2011 - 7:59 am

Good point, Linsey! As for a reputable woman’s shelter, we have one here in Griffin. It’s the Christian Women’s Center, not to be confused with the thrift shop of the same name that they run. CWC’s home was heavily damaged in the tornado that went through north Griffin earlier this year. Here’s the link to them: http://www.cwcga.org/index2.html

Debbie Kaufman - November 29, 2011 - 8:00 am

Marilyn, I went the clothes route for years, but he always returned them for one reason or another. So frustrating! Now I suspect I could buy him anything Zumba and he’d keep it in a heartbeat!

So cool that you finally found something hubby likes.

Sia Huff - November 29, 2011 - 11:05 am

Hi Deb,
Every year gets more difficult for hubby. Following in with your and Marilyn’s hubby, he has every tool known to man. There’s a new saw that claims to do the work of three saws (tile, wood and metal). I tried to talk him into that one hoping we could get rid of the other three and have more space. He didn’t go for it.
I’ve had a tree planted in honor of a friend before wish I thought was pretty cool.

Maxine Davis - November 29, 2011 - 11:22 am

Oh, yes, got those hard-to-gift people too. Usually get hubby clothes, but I don’t know what I’ll do if he retires! I, too, love gift cards. Like, you, I have Thanksgiving behind me so now it onward to Christmas. Going to put my tree up this week!

Susan - November 29, 2011 - 2:09 pm

Debbie,
My mother is my most difficult one. She has what she wants and get the other. I watch out all year to find something for her, still I don’t always feel good about what I get. For the guys that have all the tools, if they don’t have a Mouse sander they need one. Best tool I own.

Marilyn Baron - November 29, 2011 - 4:53 pm

Susan,

What’s a mouse sander? Is it used for sanding mice? Probably not.
I like the tree planting idea. That’s neat.

Carol Burnside - November 29, 2011 - 7:47 pm

I have this problem with both Hubby and son. Hubby especially, since his birthday is also in December. :( What am I getting them this year?

It’s still a mystery.

Tami Brothers - November 30, 2011 - 1:46 pm

Hey Debbie! Sorry I missed yesterday. This is a great post and a wonderful idea. My hubby is tough to buy for also. So I think I’m going to take a page out of your book and check out these sites. I think I like the goat idea. :)

Tami :mrgreen:

Dianna Love - December 1, 2011 - 12:07 pm

Debbie – great suggestions. I stopped the mega gift buying ordeal years ago (we buy for small kids) because it took so much away from the holiday. But that sounds like a great idea that would benefit more than one person. Our friends and family get together over the month of Dec for meals.

Sally Kilpatrick - December 2, 2011 - 9:15 am

Thanks for some new sites, Debbie! I found the Heifer Project a long time ago as a way to give something to my notoriously hard to shop for father. The fact that he’s called me a heifer most of my life was icing on the cake.

We’ve also gone to experiences. For Christmas last year, I gave my mom a trip to Charleston and Savannah–just her and me. Or, we’ll give the kids a special trip to a jumpy place or something like that.

Oh, and animals that poop jelly beans are always a cheap and entertaining gift to open when you’ve made a bigger donation or have an experience gift planned. You can find those at Books-a-Million.

Thanks for a great post and for some new places to “shop.”

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