Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I know you’ve seen it – the holiday merchandise on display in retail stores.

(Yes. I know, it’s been out for weeks – even in the same aisle as the Halloween merchandise).

Those displays have given me an idea: what if we shift our thoughts from presents to presence during the Christmas season of gratitude and giving by sharing gifts that reach beyond store-bought trinkets?

There are countless ways we can share gratitude, support, and love. Here are a few:

  • Spend time with those who are lonely.
  • Listen to someone who needs to be heard.
  • Write a note of appreciation to family and friends.
  • Volunteer at a local food pantry.
  • Donate supplies to a school.
  • Bake a treat for a neighbor, co-worker, or friend
  • Prepare/share a meal for/with someone who lives alone.
  • Devote quality time to family and friends.
  • Go caroling at a nursing home.
  • Rake leaves/shovel snow for a senior.
  • Relax with loved ones.

Let’s remember why we celebrate this glorious holiday in the first place: Almighty God decided to give an undeserving humanity the truest and most precious gift that has ever been given in His Son Jesus.

And while we’re making the most of this holiday season, let’s remember that there are always opportunities to give throughout the year!

What are some ways that you can give of yourself this holiday season?

Posted in Associate Blog, News


  1. I may not always respond to the comments that you leave, but please know that I do read them and that I appreciate all of your thoughts and input!

  2. What a wonderful way to look at the upcoming season (and throughout the year as well). I’m going to use this as a “to do” list!
    Thank you and bless you!

  3. Thanks for your reflection, Colette! For me it echoes a prayer service I did years ago in retreat ministry on “the Present of Presence”. Truly our presence to another is a great gift / present. I appreciate your list of possibilities, too.

    And as Ellen mentions: “Now, to get to the ‘doing'”!

    Blessings on all who give of their PRESENCE… during this upcoming season and beyond! It never goes out of season.


  4. Thanks Collette, it’s good to be reminded that our presence is even more important than our presents. While it’s always nice to receive and give presents to friends and family, I treasure the presence of family and friends even more!
    Thanks, Joanne

  5. Dear Colette,
    Great ideas – especially those that involved connecting with another person. Giving the gift of presence is priceless. Thanks for reminding us.
    Sr. June

  6. Wonderful reminder of our chosen reality. Thanks for the
    super suggestions for the upcoming season. Appreciate.

    Now getting to the ‘do it’ part. Or continuing the ‘do it’ part.

    Blessings on your ministry with us and beyond!

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