6 Gifts That Always Fit

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You can't buy happiness, but here's how to give it away.
By Stacey A. Johnson

1. A Smile. Hey, it's one of the easiest ways to show you care. It doesn't have to be big and grinny, just genuine. It can show a lonely person you care, it can lift somebody's spirits, and it's just a small way to give little glimpse of God's love.

2. A Listening Ear. The world's full of advice-givers and people who love to hear the sound of their own voices. But listening is a rare and valuable gift in any friendship. When you listen carefully, you silently communicate: "You're important. I care about what you have to say because I care about you."

3. Encouragement. Cheer on a friend. Let someone know when they've done a good job. Give a little encouragement to a friend who feels like a failure. Here's how to take this whole encouragement thing up a notch: Make an Encouragement Book for someone who needs extra support. Paste uplifting pictures, quotes and Bible verses into a notebook or inexpensive journal. Decorate the cover—wrapping paper is optional.

4. A Helping Hand. Let's imagine a tough situation. You have a friend whose parents are going through a divorce. With all the hurt he's experiencing, he's also got a lot more responsibility around the house. Maybe it's babysitting a little sis. Or possibly, he has to help cook meals or clean the house more than he used to. Offer to help out. Look for ways to put hands and feet to your concern and love for another person—especially someone who's hurting.

5. Volunteering. Talk to your youth pastor about places where you could serve over the holidays. Maybe you could visit lonely people at a nursing home. Possibly a local food pantry needs extra help. Just do something to demonstrate your concern for others less fortunate than you. And don't just make it a holiday thing. Plan regular times throughout the year to reach out and help others.

6. Your Talent. Play the guitar? Lead worship for children's church. Handy with a camera? Take photos of your family's holiday gatherings. Got a knack for fixing something old and broken down? Then turn to page 16, and find out how one guy's fix-it skills bring a lot of smiles to faces of hurting children.

Copyright © 2004 by the author or Christianity Today International/Campus Life magazine. Click here for reprint information on Campus Life.
November/December 2004, Vol. 28, No. 3, Page 49

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