Monday, November 21, 2011

When you think you have nothing to give

Last week I reposted what I wrote two or three years ago about how to help those in need.  This post is the other half of that original post... for those who feel they have nothing they can give others.

In our materialistic society, we most often think we have to make a purchase to give or the gift is will not be appreciated. Actually, I have found that not to be true in most cases. Yes, there are those around who may not appreciate fresh baked cookies but let's be honest... do you want those people as friends? So they are family and you are stuck with them... pray for their materialism and offer them a cookie, anyway. They may learn someday.

Here are some ways I've learned to be a giver, even with a very limited income...

When I do have "extra" cash, I stock the pantry (shelves, frig, deep freeze) with simple items which... when mixed together... create magic (Narnia magic). Isn't it absolutely remarkable the number of recipes which can be made from: eggs, butter, milk or cream, various sugars, flour, flavor extracts, nuts, dried fruit, yeast, etc.?

Throughout the year I'm always looking for inexpensive containers, suitable for giving gifts of baked goods. For instance, last year I hit a clearance sale at Wal Mart and purchased a couple dozen pretty red trays for a dime each. I gave many of them to Stephanie as a gift since she often takes baked goods to people.

When I can get a good deal on fresh fruits, I like to "can" jellies and jams. People love these.

A blog friend sent me honey and homemade soap from her farm... LOVED it!

Other gifts I give with little or no money:

Books from the book sales or purchased with Amazon credit.
Items purchased at garage sales and while thrifting that I know people would love.
A pretty mug or teacup from my own collection with a box of favorite tea or hot chocolate.
A basket filled with a favorite snack (like puppy chow... yum) made "from scratch".

I used to make teddy bears, angels, small quilts, and other sewn items.
My first gift to my husband (before he was my husband) was a crocheted scarf... which he still has. :)
I've given a gift of recipe cards written with favorite family recipes.
My daughter received a "cookbook" from our good friend for a wedding gift that she had written with their favorite recipes... all printed from her computer.

Stuff to do as gifts

Offer to babysit the kiddies.
Sit with an elderly or ill person so their caregiver can get relief.
Read to someone who can't read for themselves... young or old.
Offer to scrub a floor or paint a room.
Trim bushes and trees for someone who can no longer get around easily.

Put up a Christmas tree for a friend who is not handy about such things.
Share extra decorations (that you no longer need or want) with a friend who has none.
Hang the Christmas lights for the elderly neighbor who can no longer hang them.

Write letters to people who would love to hear from you.
Send a pretty card to an elderly relative or friend.
Give forgiveness to someone who needs to hear those words.

Listen to a teenager, really listen.
Ask an elderly relative to share family history and write it down.
Collect family recipes and type them into the computer... give copies to loved ones.

Encourage your children to draw pictures for Grandma and Grandpa... and send them.

If you have a green thumb, take starts from your flowers (in season) and start them in your home, give to a neighbor or family member when they are ready.

Yes, it takes creative thinking but you can give... even if it a prayer.

Picture: End of the Harvest:


Terra said...

I have got to tell you; these are GREAT ideas.

Vee said...

And you can write a blog, which I consider one of the finest things a thoughtful, thinking person such as yourself can give. Everything suggested makes for an economical gift that would be greatly appreciated. I cracked up at the line, "Offer them a cookie anyway."

Mrs.Rabe said...

Great ideas!

Why is it that we think we have to purchase a gift or that it has to be expensive?

Have a lovely Thanksgiving!


Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Great thoughts to think about. Everyone can find lovely possibilities here. ONe of my daughters used to give us gifts of little coupon books she made herself which would say things like, "good for one book read to you by me," and "good for one hour of weeding in the garden". Well, you get the idea. The books were rather short ones!She was young.

Isabel Rafael said...

Such helpful ideas Brenda - thanks for sharing. Thoughtfulness and time are always well received as gifts - there's something so special about something made from 'scratch'.

Anonymous said...

Lovely ideas, whether one has money or not!! Thanks for ideas are always good!!
Elizabeth in NC

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, practical ideas. Actually the last thing most people, especially the elderly need is more Stuff.

Cozy in Texas said...

This is a lovely post. I always take either rosemary or mint from my garden in a pretty vase as a hostess gift and always have pretty handmade dish cloths to give to someone.