Sugar! Sweetness! Treats abound around holidays. Go to any holiday party, and I mean any, and you are bound to find sweets. Candy. Pie. Cakes. Cookies, Sodas, Lemonade, Punch.
My church women's group gave out a little gift for Christmas. It was a candy cane with a tag on it with some nice saying about Christmas. It's a cheap, thoughtful little thing to do, right? Well, it occurred to me that is the reason for giving candy. It's cheap. It's a way to say "I'm thinking of you" and stay on a budget. Can you think of anything else you can give as cheaply as a candy cane?
The problem is that it's not really a good gift. All that sugar, artificial flavor and artificial coloring is so bad for you. Half the world is on a diet anyway. Yet this is the way we show love to people? I remember the author of "Eat and Be Lean 2000" talking about sweets in that vein.
I don't know that there's a good answer to the dilemma of an inexpensive gift, but why is sugar the answer? Because when they give out plants on Mother's Day people complain. Especially if they are vegetables! All I need is more work to have to do, and you call this a gift? Anything that says "You need to improve" is not a good gift unless asked for.
So what's a good alternative? Tiny notebooks, perhaps, or dried fruit or nuts. A batch of pretty bookmarks for our Bibles would be inexpensive and useful. A door-hanger with a scripture or quote might be nice.
Another time for our girls we had a variety of inexpensive prizes for an activity. Think Michael's 25-cent bins. They are better than the bags of party favors often purchased, but not terribly expensive either. I bought a bunch of extra things, so that each girl would get a choice of a prize. Maybe that's a good alternative for the ladies. Or maybe I should just be grateful they thought of doing anything at all, and keep my mouth shut. I did murmur a polite thank you before I brought it home and refused to eat more than a tiny piece of it. (That's for a later post.)