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FIRST-PERSON: Two priceless gift ideas for Christmas

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP) -- This time of year I am always fascinated by the gift recommendations to help us find the perfect present for those on our shopping list. Every year hundreds of people wait with great anticipation to see what Oprah has on her favorite things Christmas list. If her list is not enough to help you figure out what to give the loved ones on your list, you can go to YouTube and watch videos showing the top ten best presents to give this season. You can actually Google "what to give the person who has everything" and 286,000 results come up.

By far the most telling gift recommendations of all time are two that I saw in the Air Mall magazine while flying up to Maryland not long ago. The first one is called Bob's Affirmation Box. Every time the lid is opened, a happy voice pipes up "looking good Bob" or "way to go Bob." You can keep your keepsakes it in and receive a daily dose of encouragement for only $24.95!

The second gift that grabbed my attention is a customized door mat. You can have your picture, your family's picture or even your cat's picture imprinted on the door mat with the message "It's about TIME you got home." Are you getting it? Do you see what I see? We live in a world of lonely, depleted, busy people. It is a sad day when in order to hear a positive word I have to buy the words in a box. It's a sad day when a family is neglected in such a way that their hope is placed in a door mat to do the trick of encouraging more time at home.

Therefore, I am recommending two very special gifts for you to give this season. Each gift is very expensive because it will cost you some time and effort but it will be appreciated more than another new fangled gadget out there. The first gift is to give authentic words of encouragement daily to those around you. People are desperate for love and acceptance. I would love to meet the person who thought up the idea for Bob's Affirmation Box. It was either someone who knows the power of the spoken word or someone who is a dry and thirsty soul. Take time this Christmas and write special thank-you Christmas cards to those in your life. It might be the only encouraging words they receive this season.


My second gift recommendation is the gift of your presence. I am intentionally making myself available, especially to those in my family and my church this Christmas season. I know that for some, Christmas is not a happy time and can be full of stress and sadness. I know the days will be busy and full but at least I can take time to look up from my phone, stop the texting and make real a connection. I also plan to take time away from my work routine and actually spend that time with my family. For me that means I will not open my computer when they are in the room. I am asking God to provide time for me to accomplish my work responsibilities and not compromise my family time. He is a family man and I know He will do that for you, too.

A wonderful thing about these two gifts is they have the supernatural capacity to reproduce! As a result of those you bless with your words and with your time, these gifts will be passed on to others. They really are the gifts that keep on giving.

Vicki Heath is associate national director of First Place 4 Health ( and an American Council on Exercise certified fitness professional. She is the author of "Don't Quit, Get Fit."


Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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