I operate off this really great theory that if I pick up Christmas gifts for people throughout the year, I won’t have a feeling of panic a week before Christmas when I still don’t have presents for half my family.
Let’s face it: I’ll let you know when I stop breathing into a paper bag.
But in an effort to stave off any meltdowns in your household, here’s a little gift guide for the Lutheran who already has pretty much everything ever.
For the chatty aunt who talks your ear off during Christmas dinner
Consider a gift to KFUO or Issues, Etc. When great Lutheran broadcasting is floating over the airwaves, she’ll have to shush up. That’ll give you at least ten minutes of silence on Christmas Day, and when you’re trying to digest your sixth sugar cookie, those minutes will be worth it.
For the scholar (or the one who thinks he’s a scholar anyway)
There’s one in every family: the guy who thinks he knows it all. This year, stay one step ahead of him and keep HIM in the know for once by giving a gift in his name to support the Global Seminary Initiative. Dollars from GSI provide our fellow Lutherans, living around the world, with a faithful seminary education either in their own country or here in America. And if the guy who thinks he knows everything is going to talk anyway, you might as well give him something worth chatting about.
For the widow, divorcee, or single
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for the singles among us, it can sometimes be the worst. Going to parties alone and having to sleep on the couch at Mom and Dad’s can make the holidays seem particularly difficult. Remind the single in your life that he may be lonely, but in Christ, he is never alone by ordering Hello. My Name Is Single.
For the baby of the family
I’m not going to say that I was (ok, am) spoiled as the youngest in the family but . . . no, I actually am. My mom makes my favorite food when I go home, and my dad is wrapped around my pinky finger so tight he’s pretty much turning blue. So for the spoiled rotten baby in your family, give a gift to LCMS Life Ministries in that baby’s name and support life from conception to natural death.
For the serviceman or veteran
Being away from home due to deployment during Christmas stinks, whether you’re stationed in Hawaii or Afghanistan. This Christmas, give a gift in your serviceman’s (or veteran’s) name to LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces. It doesn’t mean he’ll get to fall asleep in his recliner after opening presents like he has every other year, but it does assure him that men and women serving in the military will be cared for by LCMS chaplains, who will have all the resources and materials they need to show pastoral care to those showing physical care for our lives and freedom.
And to top it off, give him a gift subscription to The Lutheran Witness. Every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine loves mail, and the kind that teaches him how to be a thinking, speaking, articulate Lutheran to boot? Well, heck. That makes choking down hermetically sealed lasagna for supper almost worth it.
For the college student
As LCMS U points out, “College is tough. You need Jesus.” Aaaaaaaand it won’t hurt your student’s cause to have some books either, and we’re not talking the psychology textbook someone wrote all the answers in before selling it to him either. Get your college student the Essential Lutheran Library–filled with books like the Treasury of Daily Prayer, the Lutheran Study Bible and Law and Gospel–and he’ll be so busy reading, you won’t have to worry about him getting into trouble while he’s away from home ever again.
Or at least until his sophomore year.
For the cousin who suffers insatiable wanderlust
Some people get antsy staying in one place for too long. Like, say, the entrance to the mall parking lot on Christmas Eve. Others just really, really like to travel. So for the cousin who finds it hard to stay put, support an LCMS missionary in her name. She may really, really want to backpack across Siberia this December, but save her a case of pneumonia and the cost of a plane ticket, and support the work of faithful missionaries bearing witness to Christ to the ends of the (very cold) earth instead.
For the struggling artist
She may think that her latest watercolor is actually symbolic of the unification of capitalism and the Church, but all you see if a big purple glove on a canvas. Do your favorite wanna-be artist a favor and give a gift to the Concordia Theological Seminary Kantorei, a 16-voice male choir of seminary students who make REAL art in the form of sacred music.
And maybe, just maybe, if she listens to their music while painting, she’ll decide on a vocation in church work instead.
You can dream.
For the person who has everything . . . but seriously . . . EVERYTHING
You could get your grandparents a bottle of wine that they’ll never drink. Or you could give them an ornament that they’ll turn around and give back to you next year when they’re cleaning out their attic. Or you could try a gift certificate to a restaurant that they’ll never use because they just don’t like spicy food much anymore at their age.
OR you could give a gift to their local congregation in their name. In caring for the pastor, the congregation, the church building itself and even in keeping the lights on and the heater running, you’ll be assured that your grandparents have a faithful place to go each Sunday to hear the Word of God, to receive His body and blood and to be forgiven, comforted and made new on account of Christ.
No wrapping required.