“The weather had turned very bad early Christmas Eve,” my friend Mike remembers.  “Sleet and snow were coming down hard.”

Driving conditions became so poor that his mother decided to stay home and not join Mike and his wife in their holiday festivities.  So Mike decided to make the difficult two-hour trip to pick up his mom and bring her to the family gathering. Now, years later, his mother still refers to this as her priceless Christmas gift. “She felt so loved,” Mike says.

Love … isn’t that what Christmas is all about? After all, it’s the time of year when we celebrate love Himself, Jesus Christ, coming to earth (Luke 2). God gave us the greatest gift ever: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NIV).

God expressed His great love for us through Jesus Christ. And as we celebrate His birth at Christmas, we often attempt to express our affection for others through tangible gifts. But no price tag can be put on true love.

I asked some friends to tell me about the most meaningful gifts they’ve given or received for Christmas.  Here are 15 examples of gifts from the heart—priceless presents that will never be forgotten.

1.  My aunt gave me a pair of earrings that belonged to my grandmother. Giving old family items can have lots of sentimental value without the high price tag.

2.  My sister gave me a shadowbox with a piece of my grandmother’s quilt in it. Every time that I look at it, I think of Nana and my sister.

3.  My daughter-in-law typed her grandmother’s poems and had them printed in a little book. She gave them as Christmas presents to her parents and siblings; they were truly touched.

4.  Once my husband gave me an evening of painting, which is something I love.  He had found a video on a painting tutorial, and set out all of my paints and two canvases in the living room. That night, each of us painted a picture together. 

5. One year I surprised my husband with a special Christmas present: a hiking or fishing trip that we would do together.

6. I wrote poems for each of my grown children.

7. I gave my wife the gift of time. Now every afternoon from about 5-6 p.m. we sit on the porch and enjoy coffee together. I just listen as she decompresses her day. Very precious to her.

8. For Christmas, I ask my out-of-town family not to buy me anything tangible. Instead I ask them to use that money to come see me. For me, Christmas is about the celebration of Jesus Christ with those I love. Having lost all my grandparents and my mother, I am aware that tomorrow is not promised.

9.  For Christmas gifts one year my sister typed up my grandmother’s handwritten recipes for all of our siblings. She put them into a notebook with a copy of one of my grandmother’s final letters. It was such a great gift and meant a lot to us.

10.  One year, my precious grandmother (in her 90s), gave each of her 16 grandchildren a photo album that she had worked months to organize and put together.  Each grandchild’s album was filled with pictures from her collection of that particular grandchild— from the time they were an infant into their adult years.  I still cherish my album!    

11.  At the time when our oldest child was born, I wrote all about that day. Now, more than 30 years later, I will give this to my son on Christmas Day.

12.  I made my wife a small wooden crucifix out of some really beautiful wood that was recovered from our house. She likes it because it’s one-of-a-kind.

13.  Unbeknownst to me or my siblings, my grandfather wrote a memoir of growing up in the Depression, serving in World War I, etc. One of my sisters discovered this and gave me and each of our other siblings a copy as a Christmas present.

14.  One Christmas I ended up giving my husband one of his most memorable gifts. Because our children are homeschooled, they are home most of the time. However, there was a three-month period of time when they attended a science camp one day a week on Tuesdays. My gift to my man was to invite him to come home for lunch every Tuesday for some special time together in the bedroom. Sometimes we would enjoy some soup before he would return to work, but if we didn’t get around to eating he never seemed to complain.

15.  I received a card in the mail with a picture of me and my friend. She wrote a sweet note saying how thankful she was for our friendship. This was much better than a gift card.

Mother Teresa, who devoted herself to caring for the sick and poor, said “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do … but how much love we put into that action.”

This Christmas, let’s put more than things into our packages. Let’s add our love and give gifts from the heart.

©2012 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

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