I wanted so many things growing up—Barbies, Polly Pockets, a Yoshi remote-control racecar, marbles and a contraption on which to roll them. My parents have told me many times how easy it was to buy Christmas presents for me when I was a child because I was always happy with simple toys, dolls, and games. These items weren’t necessarily inexpensive, but when I received them, the joy I exuded was authentic. I’d like to think this reaction made it worth the money, time, and effort my parents poured into me (thank you, Mom and Dad).
But there have been plenty of things they’ve given me which I have regifted over the years. It is not an unappreciative spirit or heart that has prompted me to give away these precious and valuable gifts. In fact, it’s because I’ve been grateful for them that I have always wished for everyone else to have them, too. These particular gifts—they’re special. They’re intangible.
The Gift of Tradition
Nothing compares to the day my whole family gets together for Christmas. We don’t always celebrate on Christmas Day, but we make sure to carve out time the week of to fellowship. Red Solo cups are often labeled in Sharpie with silly or cute nicknames, and White Elephant—or Dirty Santa—gifts of all shapes and sizes await patiently under the tree, peaking all of our curiosity. Once a ham, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, and mac and cheese have been consumed to the point that our belt-buckles pucker, we crowd into the living room and make ourselves comfortable anywhere we can find a seat. With over 20 of us, that often means the floor.
Two sets of playing cards are meticulously shuffled. My uncle holds one pile while my aunt passes a card to each family member from the opposite deck.
“Don’t touch the present you want. Just point to it. I’ll retrieve it for you,” my uncle says as if reading from a script. We know the rules from years past.
“Queen of Diamonds,” my aunt announces. “Who has the Queen of Diamonds?” Every eye sweeps across the room, but no one claims the suite. “Okay, no Queen of Diamonds. How about Five of Clubs?” As if a sudden fire has been lit under him, my cousin Alex shoots off the ottoman and hands over his card. He carefully weighs his options, points, and receives.
I’m sure you can guess the rest. Someone either nabs the gift when it’s his or her turn, or the gift remains safely unstolen. The cycle continues until everyone has a present. Then, once everyone has had a breather from the excitement, we usually pull out games and play them into the night with a Christmas carol break at the piano in between.
This tradition has been honored ever since I can remember. It has shown me the value of family, the importance of gathering and connecting with others, and one of the most important reasons we celebrate the holiday in the first place: Jesus. Traditions are held throughout the world, and because this one has been instilled in me, I look forward to regifting it to my future children and their families, too.
The Gift of Kindness
A.R.K. aka Acts of Random Kindness is a concept I learned in youth group when I was a tween. What it means to practice A.R.K. is someone intentionally opening up his eyes and ears throughout any typical day in the event he can do something to help or brighten another person’s life. It is a model for the way we should all try to live.
Acts of Random Kindness don’t have to be a dramatic gesture. They can be as subtle as throwing an abandoned cup into the trash. They can be as uncomplicated as quickly returning a toy that a mother didn’t know slipped from her baby girl’s stroller. Even holding the door open for someone behind you (regardless of a ‘thank you’ in return) can change the course of the universe.
Imagine that the person who receives this Act of Random Kindness passes it along to someone else. Because he or she felt blessed, he or she then blesses someone else. Imagine that this person was having a horrible day, but your moment of acknowledgment let them know there is still hope. That they are not alone. Think about the chain reaction your kindness could jumpstart if a third party witnessed the interaction between you and another and decided to do something kind for her neighbor.
Plenty of wonderful charities and ministries provide opportunities for you to show this kindness. You can donate to the local food pantry or volunteer at a soup kitchen or nursing home. Maybe you’d like to run a toy drive for less fortunate families and then have a wrapping party.
You never know what one seemingly small act can do. Especially during the Christmas season, kindness can go a long way. Some may be hurting while others are in need. Kindness is a win-win. It’s gifted to others and makes you feel wonderful, too. But no matter what effect or reward it has, kindness is never too costly to share.
The Gift of Love
I asked my grandma why the Bible says that of faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love (1 Cor. 13:13). Why would faith not be the greatest? After all, it is by faith through grace we are saved. Would that not be the gift worth regifting? You cannot ride the coattails of someone else’s faith, but you can most certainly share about your faith.
She explained that faith works by love. If it weren’t for love, faith would be useless. Galatians 5:6 says, “When you’re placed into the Anointed One and joined to him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love” (TPT). Jesus loved us first. His sacrifice on the cross as a result of that love activated our faith.
God’s Word tells us in Luke, chapter 10, verse 27 that we must love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and souls. Then, it tells us we must love our neighbors as ourselves. What if by loving our neighbors, we give the greatest testament of our faith possible? By living in a state of love and allowing that to be who we are the same way Jesus does, we draw people nearer to Him, to ourselves, and to one another.
Love can be regifted in various forms: Forgiveness, sacrifice, acceptance, generosity, and so on. What will your love look like to the world this holiday season?
The Gifts that Keep on Giving
Maybe you’ll get a pair of socks that aren’t your taste in fashion and you’ll want to give them away. If your family is like mine, you may even receive a gag gift that you’ll end up handing over to your 10-year-old niece. Regifting these items make total sense, and I wouldn’t blame you for passing them along.
But as you do, remember the priceless gifts that can go on and on infinitely, and try to give these away, too, not just at Christmas but every day.
Featured Image by Jeshoots
In-Text Image 1 by Andrew Neel
In-Text Image 2 by CC0 Creative Commons