30 meaningful gifts to bless others with this Christmas

Emilyn Tan // December 12, 2018, 3:47 pm

This photo was taken at the 2015 World Vision Noche Buena campaign in the Philippines, which aims to distribute Noche Buena gift packs to over 30,000 families across the Philippines. The term

Child beneficiaries from the World Vision Noche Buena campaign in the Philippines, which aims to distribute gift packs to over 30,000 families across the Philippines. "Noche buena" literally translates to “a good night” – it refers to the eve of the birth of Christ. Since this donation drive started in 2005, thousands of sponsors and donors have impacted 33,000 Filipino homes every Christmas. Photo by World Vision.

The assignment was to find meaningful Christmas gifts.

My immediate dilemma was: Who’s to say what’s “meaningful”?

The very first Christmas gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11), brought by magi who paid homage to Jesus’ kingship, priesthood and death.

A wise man from the East I am not.

Even so, restraint dictates that I should not shop till I drop for the cause of December 25 gift-giving.

My mind traverses, instead, across the hills and valleys of

  • “worthwhile” (read: equal weights and measures for money out, value in)
  • “purposeful” (gets the giving out of the way), and
  • “consequential” 

Hmm, that third descriptive of the word “meaningful” (thanks to Google) stumps me because it suggests an appreciable effect (ie, don’t dump my gift) should rightly follow the cause.

High calling indeed.

So, what’s in a Christmas gift that would make it meaningful? Here’s my take:

1. Faith

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Think “anonymity”, then make a purposeful gift towards the work of the Singapore Red Cross, Caritas Singapore, World Vision and Healthserve.

HealthServe is a non-religious, non-profit organisation set up by Dr Goh Wei Leong for migrant workers. Donations go towards providing healthcare and dental services to migrant workers, as well as social assistance, skills training and food. Photo by Rachel Phua.

Join the fight against social injustice by adding to the ministries of Onesimus Garden, Love Justice International, Garden Impact Investment Fund, Chain Reaction, and Hagar Singapore.

Hear the gasp: “Wah, eggs!” and look up Isaiah 35:1-2 for Our Chicken Story‘s vision.

Caleb Giam (L) pictured next to Pastor Adisak (R). Pastor Adisak is currently looking for a suitable plot of land that will serve as a central farm, allowing them to expand to nearby villages.

Caleb Giam (left) and Thai pastor Adisak (right) aim to provide villagers with much-needed nutrients in the form of eggs laid by the chickens given to them through Our Chicken Story. Volunteer with them to help create an “ecosystem of food”, where those who were once hungry would be able to grow a wide variety of food sustainably. Photo courtesy of Caleb Giam.

Remember: “It is the already-poor who are the hardest hit,” as James Tan shares, having seen this for himself in the course of his work in crisis relief as executive director of the Anglican Relief and Development Agency.  

Trust God enough to see His good come out of your dollars and sense.

Action: Go to the relevant websites and hit the “Donate” button. Trust God enough to see His good (Romans 8:28) come out of your dollars and sense.

Alternatively, get up and about and

  • Walk towards the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettles wherever you hear the tinkle of bells and spare more than just your loose change. Better yet, volunteer for a minimum of two hours (Register here.)
  • Deliver the hamper you sponsor for a family in the Prison Ministry’s Angel Tree Project.
  • Fill a trolley with bags of rice and other food essentials for the Boys Brigade’s annual Share-a-Gift effort. Find the boys in blue stationed at collection points at selected NTUC supermarkets.

2. Hope

Treasure Box SG offers Christian children’s devotionals, including a book around the theme: “What does Christmas mean to me?” Part of the proceeds go towards supporting VWO Beyond Awesome. Photo by Treasure Box SG.

“Hope springs eternal”, it’s said. We all know someone who needs to read one of these books and weep:

3. Love

Love: It’s the greatest of all (1 Corinthians 13:13). And every which way, it’s expressed in relationships.

So, this Christmas, decide that you will give of yourself to make a disciple (Matthew 28:19) in the new year – and follow through.

It’s not all said and done if we don’t get to the heart of the season.

Check out Tan Soo Inn’s 3-2-1 model for do-able spiritual friendship, among other helps available. 

While you’re at it, have a cup of an aromatic brew at Prodigal Cafe or The Caffeine Experience, where coffee and rehabilitation go together.

If crowds are your thing, go with the Alpha plan and cater in from Elsie’s Kitchen.

Perhaps even bring everyone along to [email protected] Bahru for a weekend. There might be pineapple tarts to share. (To volunteer or contribute, contact Raymond Khoo here.)

Raymond Khoo is the executive chef-owner of The Peranakan

At Lengkok Bahru, many low-income Singaporeans stay in sparse one-room flats. Raymond Khoo, the executive chef-owner of The Peranakan, started an initiative called [email protected] Bahru where free lunch is provided to residents every Saturday. Join Raymond in giving back to the people who “built Singapore”. Photo by Rachel Phua.

Love your block by showing your neighbours:

We are the reason that He gave His life 
We are the reason that He suffered and died 
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give 
To show us the reason to live.

Sowing Room helps abused and at-risk domestic workers acquire sewing skills. Beautiful bags, pouches, Christmas ornaments and more are handmade by the beneficiaries. Photo courtesy of Sowing Room.

If you enjoy shopping for your gifts, home grown enterprises Sowing Room, Treasure Box and Project En Courage have a range of pretty as well as functional gifts.

And for the neighbour, relative or friend who speaks a dialect or is physically unable to hold a Bible, solar-powered audio Bible MegaVoice, which comes in 4,000 languages and dialects, is the ultimate Christmas gift of God’s Word. 

It is estimated that the world’s 7.4 billion people speak about 7,100 different languages. Audio Bible MegaVoice is available in more than 4,000 languages and dialects. Photo from MegaVoice.

Rest assured, such a gift will be eternally significant, and more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh put together. 

It’s not all said and done if we don’t see beyond the hype and get to the heart of the season and, in so doing, remember the One Person whose One Gift defines “meaningful” for all time:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).

That’s a gift wondrously blood-bought, according to a truly enlightened, foreordained plan.

The Treasure Box SG has offered our readers a promotional code. Enter SALTLIGHT10 at checkout to get 10% off your order. 

About the author

Emilyn Tan

Emilyn once spent morning, noon and night in a newsroom in the US, as well as in the Mediacorp office in Singapore. She gave it up to spend morning, noon and night at home, in the hope that someday she’d have an epiphany of God with His hands in the suds, washing the dishes too.