Alternative Gifts: Part 3

 This is the third in a series of posts on Alternative Gifts. Here is Part One, and Here is Part Two.

These ideas came from LaVerna A.

Pick an activity your family/children enjoy and show your gratitude by:

contributing to a scholarship fund at the Y for swimming lessons or team membership or summer camp 

contributing to a fund at Westminster for scholarships for children’s music study 

contributing to the public library, with either money or a family favorite book (or two). 

From Barbara F:

Art books, coffee table books — they are great to sit around for awhile, but then they gather dust. One year I checked out from the public library one beautiful book for each person, adult and child, wrapped them up and put them under the tree as an “extra’ gift to open. Everybody enjoyed their books during the holidays, then they were returned. They don’t have to be “artsy,” they could be about a new hobby that you are tactfully offering to a child. Or a travel book about a trip for the future. Something to dream on!

More ideas, these from Iona H.

Three years ago, my immediate family and close friends and I decided to stop giving each other gifts. Instead, throughout the year, we buy personal products when they are on sale. Then in early December, I collect them from my mom, brother, sister-in-law, friends (and myself, of course), and take several boxes of shampoos, dental supplies, creams, soaps, deodorants, etc. to the Crisis Ministry. This is something that we really get excited about doing every year.

Also each year my husband and I tell his local son and daughter-in-laws which charity we want them to donate to in our name. We keep insisting that we want nothing, but they insist on doing something. So they do something for us (no more stuff) while doing something for others. Last year their donation went to the Cornerstone Community Kitchen here at PUMC.

For more ideas check out,

Also check out charity ratings at and

If you have family-favorite alternative gift-giving ideas, or have tried some of the above and want to give feedback, please send them to We can post them on this blog and add them to the list for 2014.

Have a joyous Christmas celebration with the emphasis on Christ’s coming to be among us.