Sometimes Christmas becomes so complex with expectations that we miss its lowly treasures. So this year, I decided NOT to focus on What would the Joneses do for their Christmas gift extravaganza?, but on What Would Mary Do? since she was the one who always celebrated Our Lord's birthday. How would she have commemorated? I believe she would have given from her heart with an eye always for the poor.
Mary and Joseph lived simply, for they had very little. She would not have sent Christmas cards, bumped up her Visa with extravagant gifts, made cookies for all of her neighbors and friends, hung profuse lights, decorated a tree, or jolted up her stress level. I believe she would have shared with Him the wonder of His birth in the stable, the angels, the shepherds, and the Wise Men. Perhaps she might have added some extra fruits and nuts to their table, always thanking God for His many blessings laden upon The Holy Family. Indeed, Jesus’s birthday would have been simple, with perhaps a modest gift being given.
So with that thought, I came up with The Love Mug. Now Sonja Countryman, a mother of twelve at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church, Bainbridge Island WA, feels a Christmas gift should be “consumable, disposable, and reusable.” And I would add, purchased with an eye for the poor. The Love Mug (including wrapping) does all four of those for under $2.00 each mug.
First, go to a thrift shop that helps the needy and get yourself as many 50 cent mugs as you can find. And while you are there, shop for anything which The Love Mug list might require, too, such as a Christmas ornament or a teabag. Also, check out your local Dollar Store. (I have listed what each mug needs below.) Then wash and dry the mugs, enclose a teabag, fill them appropriately as listed below, and put a filled-out information sheet in each. Finally, wrap each mug and its contents in a brown lunch bag by folding the bag-end over and stapling it or tying it tightly with some ribbon.
Before you close the paper bag, to clarify, include the following computer-printed information in each mug with their mug type listed or circled. Let folks realize you made the gift for just them, which you did!
The Love Mugs
Brown Paper Bag Wrapping
Dear ___________ (their name) ,
I have chosen to give you The ______________________ Love Mug for a present. I hope you enjoy it. You are so special and such a wonderful gift in my life.
Love and Blessings,
1. The Think Deeply Love Mug
2. The Pursue Peace Love Mug
3. The Pray Well Love Mug
4. The Relax Easily Love Mug
5. The You Are Pretty Love Mug
6. The Stop Stress Love Mug
7. The Enjoy Hours Love Mug
8. The Experience Endorphins Love Mug
9. The Watch Sports Love Mug
10. The Jump for Joy Love Mug
11. The Stay Healthy Love Mug
12.The Cherish Christmas Love Mug
13.The Embrace Birthdays Love Mug
14.The Hug Happily Love Mug
In each mug, besides a tea bag, include the following:
Think Deeply = a pen and small pad of paper
Pursue Peace = a Bible verse and scented pine cone
Pray Well = a candle and Rosary or Catholic religious card
Relax Easily = a small candle and more tea bags
You Are Pretty = chapstick, fingernail file, and nail polish
Stop Stress = chamomile tea bags and a small candle
Enjoy Time = a package of planting seeds
Experience Endorphins = a handful of Hershey’s kisses
Watch Sports = a can of beer or N/A beer
Jump for Joy = a jump rope
Stay Healthy = two packages of Emergen-C
Cherish Christmas = a candle and small ornament
Embrace Birthdays = a BD card and a small gift from The Dollar Store
Hug Happily = a handful of Hershey’s Kisses Hugs
Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31: ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Indeed The Love Mug is one simple way to show just that.
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.