What was the best Christmas gift you have ever received?

I would need to think long and hard about that one.

As a child there were too many gifts under the tree for me.  I’m not quite sure what my parents’ thought process was on Christmas gifts.  Most kids get some new clothes to start off the school year.  Not me.  Sometimes I got new shoes….in the first few weeks or months of the school year.  My parents were not into starting off the school year all shiny and fresh.  For all the picture-taking, I never remember, one time, a first-day-of-school picture.  But, always, there was a new wardrobe of clothes under the Christmas tree.  Plus…toys and games.  I remember my first Barbie doll when I was seven and “hot” hair rollers at thirteen.


Gift of Necessity :: Joy Day! :: Marsh with Cat Tails and Winterberry :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


As a child I was much more into the decor, having fancy paper and bows to wrap the gifts,  and the tree, than what was under the tree.

As I grew older, I made as many gifts as possible for my family and friends.  Maybe because gifts of service is one of my love languages.  Maybe because I derive joy in creating an item for someone.  This year our wallets have been pretty flat. Funds weren’t available for supplies for creating gifts, so I needed to get really creative.   We made a few of the Folded Paperback Book Christmas Trees.   And I enjoyed creating some birch “log” ornaments from nature’s bounty for a gift.


Some years….the best gift is something you really need.

My friend had it in her mind to get me a gift…not expecting anything in return.  She shopped one of my favorite clothing stores and couldn’t see anything with my name on it.  And then she asked the question…”What does she really need?”  That changed everything for her.  What is one thing that I use almost daily?  And what one thing was dying….totally worn out?  What was that one thing so critical to my blog?  My pocket camera. That was it!  That was something I really needed.

She had so much joy in  finding and purchasing an even better new edition for me.  She had so much joy in seeing me….open a package, never expecting in a million years to receive a camera, and turn into a blubbering mess.  She had so much joy in seeing me learn how to use the camera and run around the house taking pictures.

The question could be asked….”Who got the bigger blessing?  The giver or the receiver?”

Maybe in this case it was equal.  Maybe.


Cattails :: A Gift of Necessity  :: Joy Day! :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


This year I observed the season of Advent very intentionally.  Much more so than any time in the past.  I thought a lot about The Gift of Christmas.

We have heard that it’s more blessed to give than to receive.  Do you think that God gets a bigger blessing for giving us his gift of forgiveness and eternal life than we do in receiving it?

One thing is for sure.  We need his gift.  Without it we cannot really live.   It’s a gift of necessity.


Sharing the gospel with someone who needs it is a gift of necessity.

Providing water, food, education, and health care for a child who needs it is a gift of necessity.

Christmas is over and done for most of us.  (Though I know some of you may be looking forward to celebrating Three Kings Day — Epiphany on January 6.)  Did you give a gift of necessity?  Did you give a gift that would really make a difference?  Was your gift one that required sacrifice on your part?

If your gifts were all obligatory….filling wants….or keeping appearances, I challenge you to think about giving a gift of necessity.  You can do it individually or as a family.  And though you may not observe Three Kings Day….why not make this your gift to Jesus…just as the three magi brought gifts to him.

Consider sponsoring a child for a year through Compassion.  If you use the link here…you will even receive an extra blessing–the gift of Ann Voskamp’s new Advent Devotional, The Greatest Gift.  Or consider another way to make a real difference such as providing for urgent needs that still remain from the Super Typhoon that hit the Philippines, or give the gift of water which often leads to the recipient receiving the gift of living water.  Each is a gift of necessity.  They can be life-changing.  For you as well as the recipient.  Compassion International is highly rated, so you can feel good about knowing your money is being used effectively.


I’m still wondering about the question…”What was the best Christmas gift you have ever received?”

Maybe the better question is…”What is the best Christmas gift you have ever given?”


Cattails :: A Gift of Necessity  :: Joy Day! :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


It’s Joy Day!


It’s the day when we look back over the past week and count our gifts.  We type out our words of gratitude….for the blessings and good things as well as…the things we don’t feel especially grateful for or wish had not happened.  We count it ALL joy!

Join me in counting just ‘seven.’  I’ll begin.

I’m grateful for…

  1. a special dinner and prayer time with “old” friends.
  2. the time I gave in observing Advent….it made for the most meaningful Christmas ever.
  3. a paycheck.
  4. the fun I had in helping my friend prepare for her big family party.
  5. a call saying that the temporary job was over.  (Praising God in all things.)
  6. the fun of creating for Christmas from nature’s bounty.
  7. a new camera!

It’s your turn!!

Scroll down to the “Share your extraordinary thoughts” below and tap in your ‘seven.’  Seriously….your heart will fill with JOY!   If you enjoyed this exercise…you’ll want to take the Joy Dare here.

Thank you for stopping by today.
I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.



P.S.  If you’ve been following the 12 Days of Christmas series where I have been using winterberry in decor….you’ll be interested in the photos here of the marsh areas which held the treasure trove of winterberry.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera when I did the picking and yesterday when I went back to take photos, the marsh was too marshy to get close.   That just made me realize how blessed I was with a hard freeze so that I didn’t need high boots to acquire my berries.

To receive FREE bits of inspiration like this
in your inbox or reader, subscribe now.

 Let’s connect!  Facebook  ::  Pinterest  ::  Google +  ::  Shop-Longaberger Lifestyle

I’d be delighted if you’d share the goodness here with your friends.
Click any of the sharing buttons at the bottom.

If you’re a business owner or blogger…I am now selling sidebar ads.
Please contact me for a great introductory offer.

Sharing with these Extraordinary Spots:
My Freshly Brewed Life


  1. Debbi Saunders says

    I am grateful for:
    1. A wonderful Christmas day with my brother and son.
    2.That my brother was able to fix my car, saving me very costly repair!
    3.Gifts of necessity.
    4.2 very special cards from my son.
    5.Thoughtful little gifts from my lst graders!
    6.Getting back to my quiet/prayer time to begin my day!!! a necessity!
    7.My son is stepping out in faith to return to school at 32 to get his degrees!

  2. Mel says

    I’m still wanting to hug that gal friend of yours. She’s a keeper.
    My favorite gift….the bags and bags of things I watched being handed over to a family a couple of years back–they’d lost everything in a house fire just days before Christmas. It wasn’t my idea or even my efforts, but it was my greatest joy to watch a group of teenagers unselfishly do it all. Still makes my heart proud.

    And this week:
    * the bond of a team who struggled, together
    * snowman snow!!
    * being present for others at a difficult moment time
    * my funky new iguana bowl. 😀
    * listening to the choir sing with such passion
    * handing off the holiday surpluses…wayyy too many goodies! LOL
    * your loving friend

Please Share Your Extraordinary Thoughts!


AMAZON ASSOCIATES DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.