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Guest blogger: Shannon Curtis

20 December 2015

Shannon CurtisGift ideas for the Christmas season

In the rush to buy presents for friends and family, to make sure we have the perfect table decorations to go with that tablecloth, to plan the best possible Christmas menu around the house cleaned so that it glistens and sparkles, it’s easy to forget the real reason for the season.

Not to put too much of a religious spin on it, we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus, the moment God gave us his son, which would have to be the biggest gift of all. Whether you’re a devout Christian, a non-Christian, or someone who just likes the presents, the reason for the season is an opportunity for us to step outside of ourselves, and to give generously. That’s why we’re shopping at midnight, then racing home to bake for the big day—we want to give a beautiful experience to those we love.

But there are some out there who aren’t as blessed as we are. Those who have lost their jobs, who may not have a roof over their head, who battle mental and/or physical illness, or who simply don’t have another by their side who can share their lives with them and make them feel visible. These are the folks who are most in need, and we have an opportunity to reach out, in the true spirit of Christmas, and give generously.

Ways to give

  • Currently at the shopping malls you may come across a gift tree, where you can take a card and shop for the person mentioned on the card, and deliver the present back to the base of the tree for delivery by Christmas. (Kmart have these at the front of their stores).
  • Perhaps your local church runs a hamper drive, so that needy folks could have a special dinner—or just food on the table.
  • Maybe there is a community outreach program nearby who would greatly appreciate food for those they serve, or your time to help serve, wrap, deliver, etc … (e.g., The Wesley Mission)
  • A nursing home that would love books for their occupants …
  • A women’s refuge that would dearly appreciate toiletries, feminine hygiene products, clothes for women and children …
  • A charity that can organise an anonymous gift to a stranger … (e.g., the Vinnies Christmas Appeal)
  • A refugee centre looking after thousands of displaced families …
  • Toiletries, clothes, food—all of these things are in high demand at this time of year for those less fortunate than us, and can be relatively inexpensive for us to give.

Perhaps it’s something so simple, and yet so valuable, as our time. Either way, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be driven by you, and it could have an immeasurable impact on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of someone.

In the spirit of giving, and of gratitude, I asked readers to suggest ideas for a short story. Well, sorry guys, it’s not a short story. It’s a novella.

I am giving this away for the Christmas period. It’s a thank you to readers, for all the support and love you send my way.

Mistletoe MaverickMistletoe Maverick

Sexy bachelor and local sheriff Jackson King would like to have a little more contact with the newest resident of his town, Patience, Texas—but dealing with her young ward’s shenanigans wasn’t exactly what he had in mind.

Stephanie Farrell is struggling this Christmas. As a new guardian to two young children she discovers that playing Mommy is a lot tougher than expected—and there’s certainly no room in her life for dating or relationships, no matter how smoking hot the temptation.

When Jackson is called to Stephanie’s address during a late night home invasion, his attempt to rescue her makes him a target. Now, he’ll risk his life to save the family who has stolen his heart.

This is available currently as a free book through Smashwords and Amazon (although Amazon have yet to lower the price to free, so fair warning, it’s currently listed there at $0.99).

And now, I have a Christmas Challenge for you:

Go give a gift to a stranger. If you’re happy to share, come back and tell us what charity, store, etc in the comments below to help those who are wanting to give an anonymous gift and might need some suggestions on the how—or if you know of an organisation that could really do with a helpful contribution, no matter how small …

Merry Christmas to you all, and wishing you a heartfelt holiday of love and generosity.

2 Comments
  1. helensibbritt permalink
    20 December 2015 6:44 pm

    Hi Shannon

    What wonderful ideas and yes I do buy a gift and put it under the Christmas Trees at KMart🙂

    Thank you for the wonderful story I loved it🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

  2. Malvina permalink
    20 December 2015 10:23 am

    Shannon, you have given us the Best Ideas Ever for Christmas – thankyou! Your suggestions are absolutely spot on. Thankfully I’ve been able to tick a few off your list. There is an amazing Aussie charity called ‘Share The Dignity’ which provided an astonishing 23,025 handbags stuffed with toiletries for women at risk, homeless, or in refuges: http://www.sharethedignity.com.au/its-in-the-bag.html . Very humbling (and fun!) to organise a boot-ful of bags to deliver to my local contact. They want to continue with various other drives through next year, so those who haven’t heard of them can look forward to another opportunity to donate.

    May I offer another suggestion? Organisations such as World Vision or TEAR also have catalogues where you can buy a gift card to fund something in a developing country: eg. a goat, chickens, clean water, school books, seeds, a small business, a toilet, and so on. I ‘gifted’ all my writing and book club friends with school pencils, school books and pre-school classes this year, and everyone was delighted to receive ‘their’ gift. I remembered the way Malala said that one book, one pencil, one teacher and one student can change the world. Maybe one of ‘my’ pencils, or books, or teachers, or students will do so, as Malala herself has. Bring it on! Happy Christmas to you and your precious ones. And thank you for the gift of reading – something I will always love.

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