Christmas is almost here again, about time for my annual summation of what I see. Who needs a muse for inspiration, when every retail and online store is absolutely bursting with glitzy gifts? When you can’t go anywhere without being assailed by the modern idea of Christmas? Turkeys and pigs are giving their last gasp for roast (or sous vide) dinners. Actually the stores are now advertising Boxing week Sale! Huh?
Just before this each of their servants had gathered together an appropriate gift for the new Child. There was no wrapping for them—heck, there was no paper! But there was great knowledge of the world around them, and the wonderful, heartfelt appreciation this new mother would gain from thoughtful gifts.
So, together with the supplies needed for a very long and uncomfortable journey, the three kings carried the following priceless gifts to please the mother and safeguard the health of the Holy Family:
Making it worthwhile
- Gold is always good, and has been valued from ancient times when it was first discovered. It’s very nice for jewellery, but it’s also used in health applications. I’ve never actually eaten gold leaf decorations on a cake, but lots of folks at the higher income levels swear by it. Seriously? Wish I knew if it has any taste.
- One of the camel guys brought Frankincense Essential Oil. His slaves presumably got it for its numerous health benefits. It’s used for anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, extreme coughing, scars, stress, stretch marks. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 59-67.] so this would have been really prized for the mom and baby.
- Despite a current lack of scientific evidence, many people still use myrrh for treating cough, asthma, indigestion, ulcers sore throat, congestion, hemorrhoids, joint painand maintaining healthy skin. In those days all these medical concerns were a big problem, so it was another wonderful addition to their version of a medicine cabinet.
Uh-Oh to plastic!
This is worth thinking about if you have any outstanding balance on your credit card (it’s only the smart people who don’t use those plastic cards for their Christmas shopping) because if you do have a balance you can’t afford to buy gifts, plain and simple. Unless you really want to spend next year trying to pay it off. That’s up to you of course.
(By the way if you have just three dollars, it’s a valuable gift for everyone!)
I love that it’s my job to thank you for your $ 20.00 contribution to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.
The essential story of Wikipedia is the story of an individual, like you, giving a little bit of themselves to keep the doors of discovery open. Your contribution shows me that the spirit of our vision is alive and well.
You probably donated because Wikipedia is useful to you. That’s one of the main reasons people tell me when I ask them why they support Wikipedia. But what may surprise you is that one of the top reasons people don’t give is because they can’t afford to.
At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe that no one should have to pay to learn. We believe knowledge should always be free. We will never charge anyone to use Wikipedia. So how do we afford the infrastructure of one of the world’s most popular websites?
Because of the generosity of people like you.
Wikipedia is yours: yours to read, yours to edit, yours in which to get lost. We’re not the destination, we’re the beginning.”
7 thoughtful gifts
- It’s often a great idea just to have the Secret Santa gift giver. Draw lots, don’t disclose who you have on the name card, think carefully about that person, and have fun with just one gift. That’s all you need to worry about. Talk about lifting the pressure! Oh, and have a cap on the value too. Hint: If you decide to make something for your person, you can never put a value on it — it’s always just the best!
- I don’t know if this is the case for everyone, but gift cards are small, can be tucked into an envelope, so are useful, and can be chosen based on the recipients needs or interests.
- Home baking is always guaranteed to be a hit, and can make use of your ingredients on hand, maybe with a few supplements
- Remember, you and your time can be a huge and priceless gift. Write an IOU on a nice card, and offer some of your time to a friend or family, babysitting for a couple of hours, shopping, visiting, driving. It’s up to you. Be sure to clarify how much time you want to give.
- A once-a-month cook and deliver a meal for someone! Again, you need to specify when you’ll do this, and for how long. This can be such a lifesaver for someone trapped in the never-ending cycle of cooking each day, while trying to cope with the rest of life.
- A Simple spiral notebook for older folks you love. Put some nice decorations on it, and ask a question on every page. It becomes a wonderful legacy of memories, guiding them to write. Ask what you’re curious about. “Tell me about your family? Where was your first house, growing up, and please tell me about it? It becomes a sharing gift.
- Want to support someone going through a hard time? Get a collection of envelopes, and label them with specific trials we all suffer in life. Write a positive message on the front like “five reasons you’re so important to me” etc, and put something funny or cute inside to be opened when that kind of time time hits!
These are all able to be made as simple or elaborate as you choose, or have time for in this busy holiday season. I’m wishing all my readers a wonderful Christmas season, with no spending beyond your means, resulting in the true meaning of gift giving.