This year, we did something completely
different! Instead of buying a gift for a man or woman, or picking
a name from a hat to play secret Santa, We did NOT buy gifts for
anyone! Our gift to each other was our warm family gathering
in a cozy cabin with good food and festive celebration. No, no -
that didn't mean that we didn't have gifts to open. We started a
new tradition called "Misfit Gifts". The idea is
that the gift is something STRANGE or FUNNY that you no longer have a
use for. Each person attending the party brought a wrapped
misfit gift to place under the Christmas tree. However, there were
certain rules. In order to qualify as a "misfit", the item:
Each participant who brought a gift to exchange drew a
number. All of the gifts were placed on the floor in front of the
fireplace and chairs were arranged in a circle surrounding the gifts.
The person who drew the number "1" was first to select a gift.
The person holding the next number could either select a gift from those
remaining or "steal" the gift from someone who already selected one,
sending that person back to the remaining gifts to select another. The
process continued until everyone had a gift. The The gifts were opened one at a time
starting with whoever drew the number "1". There was a vote at the end to determine which gift was the funniest. There
was a very NICE prize for the funniest gift!
What surprises are inside each of the pretty
Let's find out!
Our Greatest Gifts
In lieu of spending money on "real" gifts for each other, we
had a "Charity Tree". Anyone who donated money, time,
or gifts to a local charity honoring the spirit of Christmas briefly describe their act
of kindness on a piece of paper and placed it inside of a
plain white envelope. The notes were ANONYMOUS. People brought as many envelopes as
they wanted but were limited to only one act of kindness per
envelope. The envelopes were placed on the Christmas tree as guests
arrived. We opened the envelopes near the end of the evening and lowered
the lights to sing "Silent Night". Afterwards, the lights came
back up and more Christmas carols were sung around the fire as we all began to
feel the true spirit of Christmas!
Here is a list of this year's very generous Charity Tree gifts:
at Strong Memorial Hospital"
money to EHOEA
(Let's Bring 'Em Home) Fund"
The money was used to fly military men and women home
donations to Open Door Mission"
donations to missionary oblates of Mary Immaculate"
donation to American Bible Society"
new toys to 'Toys for Tots' campaign"
money to the Boy Scouts of America"
McDonalds gift certificates to a boy at St. Joseph's Villa"
socks to a girl at St Joseph's Villa"
29 Christmas dinners for the homeless at Open Door Mission"
some children a very nice Christmas at Girls and Boys Town, the original
Father Flanigan's Boy's home."
money to the Salvation Army"
donation to St. Jude Research Hospital"
many kettles for the Salvation Army - each one got their share - ten to
Record Archive gift certificate to a child at St. Joseph's Villa"
money to help Afghanistan refugees"
in tree and decorations to where I volunteer at Strong Memorial Hospital"
Christmas gifts to Doctor and staff"
Christmas gifts to co-workers and staff and Strong Memorial Hospital"
Christmas gifts to psychologist and staff"
a nice gift to the mailman, deliveryman, paperboy, and our neighbors around us"
audio tapes for co-worker at Strong Memorial Hospital"
co-worker at Strong Memorial Hospital borrow pre-recorded video tapes"
gifts to co-workers and staff at Strong Memorial Hospital"
to different organizations for Christmas and visited a sick and elderly
in toys and games several times for pediatric unit at Strong Memorial
video tapes for co-workers at Strong Memorial Hospital"
snacks in for co-workers at Strong Memorial Hospital"
and kindness for a family member"
poinsettia plants to two shut-ins"
Christmas dinner to a lot of people at Open Door Mission"
and kindness for a family member"
remembered family members no longer with us"
and act of kindness for an ill neighbor"
for all those who lost their lives on 9-11, all those left behind without
them, our president, our country, and for hurting and needy people throughout
the world! For His peace and blessings in their need!"
God for His love, mercy, and faithfulness to me - most of all for His son and
forgiveness of my sins!"
for all my family, friends, and neighbors - that God will bless each of them,
keep them well and safe, and meet their needs!"
for the lost, the homeless, the hungry, the lonely - remembering that
'Whatever you do for least of these you have done unto me' (Mathew
money to a homeless man on the street"
choir in caroling for patients at Strong Memorial Hospital"
e-mail holiday greetings to servicemen overseas"
Amnesty International's campaign to write letters to prisoners of conscience
who have been wrongfully incarcerated in foreign countries"
prayers and offerings known only to God"