Christmastime Is Here

I don’t know about you, but Christmas parties are currently running through my mind.

It might be due to the fact that when I hopped on facebook Saturday morning, the first five items that popped up on my newsfeed were pictures of five different couples that had gotten all fancy the previous night to attend their company Christmas party. I am not even exaggerating. It was a very pretty sight!

A few nights ago I got together with some girlfriends and we were discussing all things Christmas parties when I told them that one year I attended seven, I repeat, seven, Christmas parties. That’s what happens when you work on staff for a student ministry.

That year the White Elephant gift exchange was in full swing and by party seven, I was plum out of ideas. And I’ll admit, a little exhausted from the White Elephant. Why is he white anyway? Rabbit trails. I have become one with them.

And now this post is becoming more like the zoo. Rabitts and elephants. Gota love ‘em.

Anywho, I was in a bind for that last party and feeling kind of snarky, so I decided to create my own white elephant gift in the form of a homemade ornament.

You bet I did.

Later that night, this ornament ended up on my friend’s tree.

I know. It was a treasure. Truly a keepsake.

You wouldn’t be shocked to know that that was the last White Elephant gift exchange I participated in. I retired after that. (At any moment the elephant could resurface in my life, but for now I’m content without it.)

All of that got me thinking about some gifts you all could give that aren’t as high dollar. Who doesn’t love a good, affordable gift idea?

These are off the top of my head, but just go with me.

Need a gift? Look no further.

1. Nail polish. I don’t know about you, but I am a polish freak. I typically have a color on my nails at all times. Just ask my co-workers. You can even get some great nail polish brands and colors for under $10. OPI and Essie are my personal favorites. Plus, who doesn’t love getting a nail polish color with a name like “The Spy Who Loved Me” or “Chick Flick Cherry”? So fun.

2. Scarves. Let’s just say I may own a few or fifty. But y’all, you can find scarves for CHEAP. I love places like TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall’s and Target for scarves. They come in plenty and they’re adorable.

3. I was about to say a potted plant, but I’m not so sure that’s very fun or cool, so I’m just going to leave it at that because who knows, one of your love languages might be the potted plant. And if so, you are my hero.

4. A Relaxation Basket: This might include foot scrub, bubble bath, maybe some fuzzy socks. Whatever makes you feel relaxed.

5. A coffee or tea mug. You know where I’m going with this. Add a bag of tea or coffee and voilia, you have a gift!

6. A journal and a good pen. Clearly there’s a difference between a good pen and a bad pen. Go for the good!

7. Big earrings. Yes. I love my pearl studs, but every now and then to throw a big earring set in the mix makes me feel extra girly all over again. You can find big, cheap earrings anywhere these days! And I do mean anywhere. I think I saw some at HEB, our grocery store, the other day.

8. A board game. My current favorite is a game called Quelf. However, if you lean more towards the shy side, this is not the game for you unless you’re in a group you can be 100% yourself around. But it’s so fun and you will laugh your head off at all the ridiculous things they make you do!

9. An iTunes gift card attached with a hand written note. You can buy pretty much any album on iTunes for $10, so you really can’t go wrong with this. And who doesn’t love a new CD? Did you also know that you can purchase an album on iTunes and have it sent to your friend? It’s magical and easy.

10. Of course, for those of you with a crafty side, anything homemade is so special. Much like my homemade ornament. But seriously, even a homemade loaf of banana bread, a homemade picture frame, a homemade wreath, etc. This is where Pinterest becomes your best friend. I like to think I’m crafty by simply pinning creating ideas. It’s pitiful!

If that’s not the bear minimum list I’m not sure what is. How about y’all spice it up a bit and add some of your ideas! I’d love to hear your creative gift giving ideas.

And by all means, if you feel led, please share a hilarious White Elephant gift you’ve received. This might just bless us more than we know.

Lastly, and only because it’s so fresh on my mind, I went to my first Christmas party of the season last night. It was with the team of people I get to serve with on a weekly basis at my church, Bayou City Fellowhip. They have become like family to me and getting to lead worship with them this past year has been one of the sweetest gifts! That’s the best kind of party, isn’t it? Stellar people, hot fajitas and no mention of the White Elephant. Grin.

I know this may not mean much to you, but we snapped this picture before we all scattered last night and it makes me so happy to look at. Some of the most genuine, sincere, humble people to serve with. I know some of you ladies feel the same way about teams you serve on. You get it. Thank you, Lord!


118 Responses to “Christmastime Is Here”

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  1. 51
    Grandma Jane says:

    So many great ideas from all of you. My family loves board games so I am going to check out Quelf. The worst /best white elephant gift I ever received was someones cherry red bowling ball. It was passed around different times as someone elses white elephant gift until it found a home. A hog farmer who put it in the lot with his pigs and they loved it. Wow. I received a gift one year of gift bags and tissue paper different varieties, birthday, wedding, etc. It really came in handy. Merry Christmas everyone.

    • 51.1
      Kim Feth says:

      I’ve been wanting to try gifting the actual wrap itself but have never been able to bring myself to do it – now that I see you post – I’m so going to do that one next time!
      Kim Feth

      • Grandma Jane says:

        They put the different gift bags and tissue in a gift bag with tissue paper like a real gift bag and it was so creative and beautiful. Glad the gift I received encouraged you to try it. Merry Christmas!

  2. 52
    jc says:

    Lindsee, I praise God for your church family. I know God has blessed ya’all with a precious & wonderfully gifted team. I know they are dear to you as you are to them; I miss them very much. And am so grateful to hear of the sweet celebrations your sharing together.
    Please know I pray for ya’all each night. The white elephant gifts sound fun, & so appreciate your input on the gifts. Praying ya’all have a very Merry Christmas & a beautiful Happy New Year.

  3. 53
    Kim Feth says:

    I found a reproduction of the “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” at my local Walgreens Drug Store for $10. I can’t wait for the gift exchange. We play a version where you’re allowed to steal over-and-over-and-over. I would love to come home with my gift!
    Kim Feth

  4. 54
    Donna says:

    Christmas parties seem to be in my past since I’m at home with my parents who need a little extra help…
    But I’m looking forward to the special music at church for Christmas and the candle light service on Christmas Eve. That always makes my Christmas.

    A gift my Dad got last year that he just loved was from Grandson. He took his $15.00 dollars to McKay Books and found some old classic books in good condition. Everything from serious stuff: about John Adams to the Bio of Charles Shultz. In total he got Dad 5 books.

    By the way Beth; What is “snarky”? 🙂

  5. 55
    Cathy DeGraffenreid says:

    I have given a gift bag with a an assortment of greeting cards and it is always well-received. I have no children of my own so last year I gave each niece and nephew something that belonged to my mother (their grandmother). They appreciated receiving something that that belonged to her and hope to do that again this year. A movie gift card for 2 show tickets and free babysitting is always good for cash-strapped young couples who would not spend their own money. It gives them a cheap date.

    • 55.1
      carol says:

      love these. thanks.

    • 55.2
      Linda - LPM says:

      My mom always bought Christmas gifts starting in January and a few years ago she passed in March. So when we cleaned out part of her house I found gifts with names on them. So the next Christmas I wrapped them and gave them to my family. Some were so funny and others were highly cherished. But we had a great time remembering her and how she loved Christmas day. It can make Christmas really special to have stories behind your gifts.

      • JoAnn Janik says:

        What a great story !! Surely that made your family Christmas sweeter through a difficult loss. I love how God turned your Mother’s tradition into a very special remembrance of her. She never knew at the time how these gifts would make your first Christmas without her so comforting, but God did. Awesome !!

  6. 56
    Traci says:

    I think all the ideas are great….however….my party is men and women and it is with work….I think I will mix up a batch of fudge with some coffe mugs but I need something else, any ideas? Our gift is $20.00

    • 56.1
      Katherine says:

      We had a White Elephant exchange at work, and one of the really great gifts was a 24 pack of toilet paper!! So funny, but really practical, especially if you are entertaining during the Christmas season.

  7. 57
    Lisa Lynch says:

    I gave away a pretty unique white elephant gift that everyone thought they wanted because the box was so big. Our Bible study does a fun gift exchange game and you never know which gift you will get till the end of the game. My big box was the gift everyone tried to get. Our hostess happened to be the “winner” (if you can call her that.) She opened the beautiful box to find an ancient, never-used cool air vaporizer that I bought with S & H green stamps back in the day. (Anyone remember them?) We all had a hoot about it. Funny thing: this year’s invitation from the same hostess closed with
    ” Can we play that gift exchange game again this year? I have a vaporizer I need to get rid of!”

  8. 58
    Corrie says:

    Starbucks gift cards and lotion purchased during the big sale at Bath and Body works are some of my favorites.

  9. 59
    Laura says:

    Our best White Elephant gift – one year at the thrift store I found a GINORMOUS (5 foot tall!) Easter Basket for $10. It had to have been from a store display. It was so huge I couldn’t stop laughing at the store and I couldn’t pass it up – thank goodness it fit in my van!

    To keep the surprise, we took a picture of our family standing in the basket holding a sign that said, “YOU WIN – IT’S YOURS!!!! Come outside to see your gift!” We put this picture on a paper and placed it in a small gift bag – and being a small bag, of course someone would pick it. When our exchange started, my husband disappeared for a moment and placed the basket on the front lawn.

    The recipients were a bit shocked. I’ve not laughed so hard in a long time.

    The basket made the rounds to the front yards of many neighbor houses that year.

  10. 60
    Jody says:

    The past few years I donated gifts in my family members’ honor from a charity organization, like Samaritan’s Purse or World Vision. (You can donate gifts for as little as $10.) Most of the organizations will send you a card to give to your loved ones that tells them about the gift that was given in their honor. I tend to pick gifts that have some personal significance, and then write a personal message inside the card that deals with that significance. For instance, my brother-in-law is a youth pastor and my sister works along side him in the ministry, so I chose to give a sheep in their honor because they “shepherd” so many young people.

    • 60.1
      Lindsee says:

      Jody! Thank you for sharing this. I had thought of this before and forgot to post it! I think it’s a great idea.

  11. 61
    glenwood says:

    Can’t say what I got this year. We have not had our party year but I did find it on sale at over 50% off. Get some tin mini loaf pans at the grocery store and instead of making 1 big loaf make several smaller loaves of gingerbread or your favorite bread recipe.Wrap in cellopane and tie with a pretty bow. If you like to make cookies. Make several types of cookies and give members a your office a variety. There are pretty containers to place them in or a Christmas plate/platter that can be reused each year.

  12. 62
    Sharon Weldon says:

    White Elephant gift. About 5 yrs ago we started having a small group Christmas Party. As a gift my husband had 12 pictures of himself framed and wrapped in a big box. Since then the group can hardly wait to see who gets the gift and what it will be. Last year it was a calendar with all the groups picture throughout it, one yr a coffee mug with DH pic this year a mouse pad with you guessed it a picture of him/us. Last yr the tables turned a bit and someone in the group made a lap quilt with his pic on it a gift to him.
    Next yr. for family gifts we have decided on a second hand Christmas, everything will be purchased or acquired second hand ie: goodwill, thrift store, craigslist etc. that will be a real treasure hunt. Merry Christmas!!!

  13. 63
    Sandy Bowers says:

    Oh ladies, something that would be an awesome stocking stuffer for a favorite girlfriend is the new Lifeway Devotional CD. Only $5.00 on Lifeway’s website or in their catalog. I assume in Lifeway stores as well. Might hear 1 or 2 devotionals from our favorite Siesta Mama!

    • 63.1
      Susan C. says:

      It is great! I already have it! It’s a two-disc set – I believe 12 devotions in all.
      Super-great gift for only $5!
      Merry Christmas from one exclamation-point-user-to-another!!

  14. 64
    Diana A. says:

    It has been way toooooo long since I’ve been around a white elephant….but I think coffee cards at a local bistro is perfect!

    I love somebody taking time to write out a few special verses that spoke to them and want to bless me with God’s Word!

    Glad to see your laughter each time we come to the blog! 😀

  15. 65
    carol says:

    Thanks for this. I always agonise over gift choices, wanting to be original, useful and affordable without seeming cheap(poor quality). The anonymous system can be handy but also more difficult if you know the different needs of the various people are eons apart.
    Of the 2 Christmas parties I have already attended, only one required a gift. The gift I received was lip gloss and eye-liner, of a brand that would not normally be within my budget, and a colour I hadnt tried before. a pleasant surprise. the gift I gave was a necklace I had handmade (beaded). Although i usually dread socialising, the 2 parties I attended, were thoroughly enjoyable because the ladies from both groups are on the same page (one in Spirit)and are like family to me. Right at this moment, I cannot remember receiving a gift that has been totally useless to me. perhaps some “art” that isn’t particularly my taste, but I display in my home anyhow, because I appreciate the heart that gave it, and because the art I love, isn’t perfect.

  16. 66
    Joyce watson says:

    I had a lot of fun last year when I bought some ballons with Merry Christmas written on them and I put them in a large box, so when they open the box the ballons floated out. My friend said they were around her house for months floating around. She enjoyed them.
    This year I got a photo album and added some pictures I took of some friends from church to give to a lady. She will be surprised to see some of these pictures with her especially.
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  17. 67
    Kristen says:

    Best white elephant gift I have seen was a neighbor screwed together scrapts of wood (Lowe’s even cut the pieces for him) into a box. He used an electric screwdriver so it didn’t take long. He put a screwdriver INTO the made box and screwed on the lid. When our other neighbor picked the box he had to go find a screwdriver and unscrew all the screws to open the box. When he finally got the lid off he found the screwdriver. I thought it was creative.

  18. 68
    Debbie, Jacksonville FL says:

    When my daughter was in high school, she and her friends picked a gift theme every year and gave each other inexpensive gifts. One year they gave each other lip glosses. I thought it was a creative way for them to remember each other without spending a ton of money.

  19. 69
    Pam says:

    This is a great idea for ideas….. I love the nail polish for hope…. I think gold toe socks are wonderful for anyone men or women…

  20. 70
    fuzzytop says:

    One of my favorite gifts to give is a framed vintage artwork postcard. You can find them at antique stores, and I especially like the ones with scriptures on them. I have found some beautiful ones with verses from Psalms.

    Loving all the suggestions here! Thanks Lindsee


  21. 71
    Linda E says:

    I get 10 – $1 Scratch and Win tickets and wrap them up. They are ALWAYS a hit because the lucky recipient could win thousands. . .or, nothing. :o)

  22. 72
    Cathy says:

    We have a group of friends here at church who sometimes put $10 (some years $20) each in an envelope and anonymously give it to someone in our church who needs help. I’ve been the 1 often picked to deliver it and it is such a blessing to see their response. Ten friends … $100 to give. One year we had quite a lot and divided it between 3 singles in missionary training at the language school in our area and it was enough money for them to buy gas to go home for the holidays. Otherwise they would have had to stay here. It’s been a blessing each time we’ve done it.

  23. 73
    Becky says:

    Love your homemade ornament idea! So using that one! 🙂

    I’m not a fan of white elephant gifts. I teach a High School Senior group on Sundays (girls) and a College Bible study (girls) Thursday nights. In years past, we’ve done a cozy sock swap and the past couple years a scarf swap. We’re doing our scarf swap this week actually. 🙂

    What girl doesn’t love cozy socks or a great scarf?

    FYI: Wal-Mart has great prices on scarves too. I just got an adorable black and white polka dot one for our exchange at $4.00!! Yep.

  24. 74
    Lynn says:

    The most hilarious gift I ever received wasn’t a white elephant, but my daughter and I still laugh over it. She was a student at the university where I worked and was in my office when one of the professors presented me with a Christmas gift. I opened the box to find two $20 gift cards to the local mall. We exclaimed over the profeessor’s generosity, how sweet of him! Then he came hurrying in and asked for one of the cards back. He had just given the other secretary her gift, and she called to thank him for the empty box! The cards were gift-wrapped at the mall and he didn’t notice that both were put in the same box. “You can keep them both if you really want to,” he added in a tone that indicated he hoped I wouldn’t. What else could I do but return the extra card? My daughter and I laughed till we cried. It was so obvious that he was afraid I would keep both cards and he would have to give the other secretary $40 to be fair. He was a great one for fairness and well-known for thriftiness. It remains a cherished memory of my time there.

  25. 75

    Okay, Lindsee, what does “snarky” mean?!! (had to give you a hard time!) Well, I have an “Aunt Novie” and one year when my daughter was praying for her, she accidentally called her “Old Navy!” Ha! That has stuck. And so it is not uncommon to see me giving out $5 Old Navy t-shirts at Christmas. Who can’t use an extra t-shirt?!

    • 75.1

      Oh, and one white elephant gift I received that I LOVED was a rubbermaid type container and stuffed inside were all the fixins for Rotel cheese dip and small bags of chips! I would have fought to keep that gift, as silly as it sounds!

  26. 76
    Dawn says:

    This year I’m giving out to my girlfriends desk calendars with Scripture about friendship. My girlfriends mean the world to me! Plus, I just thought they were so cute!!

  27. 77
    Stephanie. Floyd says:

    Stephanie. Commentaries. Oh my what treat would be

  28. 78
    Deanne says:

    My dad was a deacon for years when I was younger and they had annual Christmas parties at the church with others who were in leadership positions. My dad asked me to come up with a white elephant gift for he and my mom to take to the party. He said it had to be “junk”. So, as a teenager, I took that literally. I remembered an old large coffee can with a bunch of mismatched silverware in it that I got in a box at the auction house. I wrapped it up and sent it along with them. They laughed so hard when they saw what it was. That can of junk silverware was passed around for years and years. Those who had been serving for a while knew exactly what shape it was and steered clear of it so it often ended up with one of the newbies to the team =)

  29. 79
    Stacy Green says:

    Beth, Commentaries!!!!!!!!

  30. 80
    Ann Rastorfer says:

    Commentaries or book. I am late in responding because I am potty training kid number five. No extra time to read blogs these says:(

  31. 81
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Hey Lindsee,

    Another gift idea I’ve used is the Bath and Body Works hand soaps, which were on sale this year too. ((HUGS)) to you Lindsee.

  32. 82
    Barb says:

    WOW I have recently applied for disability due to RA. I no longer work 2 jobs but am working for the Lord by leading 2 prayer groups at my church on Tue at 0600 and Thur pm at 6 pm, Oh how I would love the commentaries. (I do NOT have any and would def use them!!)

  33. 83
    Claire Knubley says:

    Nail polish and scarves – yes! You can be buy me Christmas presents any time! 😉

  34. 84
    Grace says:

    We sent my younger brother to a party tonight with a Pilates DVD, haha! 🙂

  35. 85
    Lisa Lucas says:

    Love the ideas will keep them on my list for next year. I bake homemade bread (recipe from my pastor’s wife) but I add butter, cinnamon and sugar to it wonderful treat. My neighbor made up gardener’s hand scrub in a mason jar (Only sugar and a moisturizing dish detergent. You would not believe how soft it makes your hands feel. I am a card maker (if you are on you know you have tons of scraps or cards you made you didn’t send well package them up got to and you will see a box to make to put them in. Everyone just love a handmade with love card. Ciao’ for now. Blessings to one and all at LPM I love you guys.

  36. 86
    Judy Rinkenberger says:

    Judy from Washington, IL: The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1 NLT

  37. 87

    Not to worry, vegetarians can find excellent gourmet cheese.

    Drain and quickly plunge into a bowl of ice cold water. Try out different combinations of soup and grain dishes to create a quick family favorite.

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