Looking for a way to make the holiday season more meaningful? With Christmas decorations up before Halloween, the holidays often feel stressful and commercialized, constantly being told to find the “perfect” gift for someone. For me, the perfect gift comes in the form of something meaningful and from the heart. That is why I have looked to alternative gift giving at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church to honor a loved one, friend, coworker, teacher, or in someone’s memory as a way of acknowledging who they are and what they mean to me.
I discovered this way of giving about five yeas ago. I wanted to honor four women for their hard work on a committee on which we had served together. Rather than yet another soap/candle/ earrings/etc. for them, I gave a donation in their names for socks for the homeless through the Emergency Aid Coalition. Another year, I worked closely with someone who helped me make very difficult decisions on a business matter. I knew that recovery from addiction was close to her heart and so I made a donation in her name to Archway Academy, a high school for kids in addiction recovery. In another instance, I was searching for a gift for a relative who had served in the Peace Corp. What better way to honor her service than a donation to a Refugee Resettlement Ministry.
The organizations represented in this year’s Alternative Gift Giving at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church vary widely: Archway Academy, Costa Rica Mission, Emergency Aid Coalition, New Hope Housing, Palmer Place Apartments, Palmers Assisting Reentry, Refugee Resettlement Ministry, Star of Hope, and Yellowstone Academy. I am always amazed at how a simple donation can be stretched to provide for someone in need. For example, $2 can provide one sack lunch for someone who is hungry in Houston; for $10, you can supply clothing for one homeless client or job seeker needing clothes for an interview; for $25, school supplies for Archway; $50, groceries for one family in need.
Giving is easy. Simply click on palmerchurch.org/ministries/alternative-gift-market/ and select
one of the ministries tagged ALT HOL GIFT in the dropdown menu. You may also make a general donation that will be allocated among the ministries. Cards letting your loved ones know that you made a gift in their honor can be picked up at the church office.
The joy that you will receive in giving to others and honoring someone important in your life will sustain you not only through the hectic holiday season, but throughout the year.