Gifts That Give Back by Jessie Weaver

Here’s my great Christmas confession:

  • We don’t do Santa.
  • We don’t have a real tree.
  • The very small amount of gifts that my children get from us generally come from a thrift store.

It’s not how I was raised. My sister and I always received a huge pile of presents, a few of those from “Santa.” But where are those gifts now? Except for our original Nintendo, which is happily housed with my husband and me, I have no idea. A lot of those gifts got great love: Barbies, Cabbage Patch dolls, board games. But I don’t know that our Christmases would have suffered without half of those things we wished for on long lists.

Nowadays, I prefer to keep the focus on Jesus’ gift. This year, my kids (4 and almost 2) and I will be going through Truth in the Tinsel, an Advent e-book that guides them through Scripture while we make fun ornaments. We’re also opening a Jesus-focused Christmas book every night and reading it together.

As for presents, they’ll get plenty from their two sets of grandparents, being that they’re the only grandchildren on both sides. We’ve encouraged them not to overdo it, though, because our kids already have so. many. toys. Experiential gifts are my favorites, and art supplies are basically “consumables” for little ones.

I hope my 4-year-old will be able to help me pick out some gifts that give to others, too, and start to understand that others around the world have needs far greater than ours. We start impressing this idea with packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and continue throughout the holidays.

Here are some of my favorite gifts that give to others!

  1. For $100, you can give a family in need a goat and two chickens through World Vision. This provides a family with goat’s milk and eggs – and the families that receive them are asked to pass along chicks to other families.
  2. For just $9, you can feed a hungry baby for a week through Samaritan’s Purse. It’s Gift 40 in their catalog.
  3. Any donation is appreciated through Compassion’s fund to help provide education fees for children in need.
  4. These fun paper bead necklaces are $25, hand-crafted by women in Kenya, and help support Mercy House Kenya.
  5. Buy an adorable cupcake bib for $6 on Etsy, help support relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy.
  6. $25 from each $50 plate purchase of this cute, recycled glass plate goes to support City Harvest in NYC, an organization that raises money to feed those in need.

Do you have any favorite gifts that give back?

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. If you are a mom, maybe your family needs some Mother’s Day gift hints! Or maybe you are a dad trying to figure out something new and creative this year for your wife!

Maybe you will be inspired by the following ideas!

  • BnBFinder.jpgA trip to a Bed and Breakfast. Every mom needs some time to relax and rejuvenate, and a great way to do that is to visit a bed and breakfast. Visit, to find a bed and breakfast package that is just right for Mom. 
  • Meals for Moms. In honor of your mom (or your wife) do something kind for a homebound senior mom. The Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) has just launched a new campaign called Meals for Moms to raise awareness of all the homebound senior moms facing the threat of hunger this Mother’s Day. You can send a free virtual bouquet of flowers to anyone (including a homebound senior mom) by visiting If someone selects that their bouquet go to a Meals On Wheels client, those e-cards will be printed out and distributed by Meals On Wheels programs, along with any special messages written by the card creators. 
  • A World Vision Gift. When it comes to Mom’s priorities, children’s needs come first.  What better way to honor Mom than by helping disadvantaged mothers provide for their children? World Vision Gift Catalog offers a variety of opportunities to assist mothers and their families in Haiti and around the world, by purchasing essential life-sustaining items. The World Vision Gift Catalog, located at, offers more than 100 poverty-fighting gifts ranging in price from $16 to $39,000 that can be purchased in the name of a mother, child, friend, or loved one.
  • JoAnn.jpgMake It and Take It. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores will host a free Make It-Take It event in every store across the country on Saturday, May 8th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to make two projects – a “hand” made flower bouquet and a fingerprint card. While the kids are crafting their masterpieces for mom, dads can stroll the store to find many great gifts — sewing machines, scrapbooking albums, picture frames, yarn, and gift cards to name a few ideas. To find the location nearest you, log onto
  • LifeWayStores.jpgFor more great Mother’s Day Gift ideas, be sure to check LifeWay stores. Stop by and browse their catalog "Mom: One Day Is Not Enough." You’ll find great products like books, music, and home decor.


If you are a mom, what have some of your favorite Mother’s Day gifts been? If you are not a mom, what are some creative ways you have honored your mother on Mother’s Day? Share your ideas with us!

World Vision’s Summerfest ’09


World Vision unveils “World Vision’s Summerfest ’09,” their first-ever summer concert series featuring pop-rock band Building 429, 33Miles, Lanae Hale, and new act Kimber Rising. The Summerfest will visit 12 to 15 cities and kicks off this week. World Vision hopes to have more than 800 child sponsorships by the end of the tour.

The tour dates lead up to Building 429’s World Vision mission trip to Uganda this July where the band will be performing to approximately 30,000 people in Rwanda with Andrew Palau of the Luis Palau Association. The band will continue their tour with World Vision in August for 15 dates across Canada.
For more information on World Vision Summerfest ’09 and the tour dates, click here.

For more information about World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice, visit the World Vision Web site.
ParentLife is excited to feature 33Miles’ lead vocalist Jason Barton and his story in our upcoming October 2009 issue. You can see Jason and 33Miles as part of Summerfest ’09. Don’t forget to check out this month’s ParentLife feature on musical artist TobyMac.

Tell us! Who are your favorite Christian artists? Do you sponsor a child through World Vision?