The Busy Bean

{Christmas in July} Neighbor Gifts

Let’s get this one out of the way quickly. It’s probably the least “fun” of my topics, but likely the most rewarding.

Wait, did I say that? Most rewarding? These are just neighbor gifts, right? Let’s see… what have I received (or gifted) with neighbors? Ornaments. Wall hangings (some absolutely adorable… others not). Treat plates. Ice scrapers (it was actually a cool scraper. Too bad my sister took it for her car).

Let’s face it, not a lot of meaning in those gifts. But what if you could give a seemingly mundane gift that really packs a lot of meaning? Have you seen lists like this lately?

The Road Home’s Most Urgent In-Kind Needs

The following items are of the greatest need:

  • Socks (for all ages)
  • Blankets (all sizes)
  • Underwear (new, for all ages)
  • Sunscreen
  • Playpens
  • Strollers
  • Bath Towels
  • Swimsuits (children)
  • Pillows

This is the list that is on one of my local shelters’ website right now. Sure, swimsuits may not be on there in December, but there’s always a list of needed items. Not just to feed people, but, as stated on their website:MENU_MISSION10-09-09

So how about this – instead of finding just the right balance between cost and not-too-lame for however many neighbors you would exchange a gift with,  you pledge with your neighbors to donate some of these items? Distribute the list, along with facts about the charity, maybe some times they need service hours, and watch the meaningful gifts roll in.You’d be surprised how meaningful a package of toilet paper can be.

If you’re not sure of your local charities, it’s not hard to find one. Google “local charity” with your state name, and pages upon pages will show up. Even easier? Call your local radio station and ask them what charities they do drives for around the holidays (or just listen and you should hear those charities named over and over).

When you’re ready to collect, maybe make an evening, or Saturday afternoon, to collect donations and travel to the charity to deliver the items. This will allow your children to see the needs of others and how they can help fill those needs. Do it as a neighborhood, and it will bring you closer to your neighbors than a plate of cookies ever could.


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One Thought on “{Christmas in July} Neighbor Gifts

  1. Steph on July 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm said:

    We do this with the neighbors to a local battered women’s shelter, have for a few years. Every few years we will do a pot luck dinner after we deliver the items. So it is a neighborhood Christmas party too and we actually get to meet the neighbors and socialize. Last year I did not do any small gifts for anyone, instead they got a card that said “In lieu of gift giving this year I have made a donation to __________ to help those who truly need some holiday cheer.”

    I also think a good idea is to talk to a local church leader and see if there is a family that might need Secret Santa and a neighborhood could put a Christmas together for someone in the area in need.

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