christmas and the heart of giving

christmas gift, holiday gift guide, christmas present,

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

December 10, 2012

[serialposts]I’ve thought a lot about Christmas gift giving lately.

It’s something that weighs heavy on my mind now. Maybe it’s because I know it’ll be a pretty light year here in the King household. Between losing my job of 13 years just a few months ago, and launching a consulting and publishing start-up, there’s just not a lot left over for lots of fancy presents to fill the space under the tree this year.

But it’s more than that. God has stirred something deeper in my heart for a few years now. Two years ago my son said he wanted to send Christmas to Haiti, and proceeded to raise $1,365 for a playground project at an orphanage. Just two months ago I had the opportunity to stand on that playground (and play on the swings with some of the kids). Projects like this are changing my ideas of what it means to give during Christmas.

I guess the thing that I’m wrestling with the most is the underlying motive in gift giving. At Christmas time we always think of the people we need to buy gifts for. Then we plan the gatherings and parties we’ll attend to exchange gifts. You know how it goes… I give my gift to you, and you give me what you bought for me. I’m struggling with this idea. I’m struggling because I’m not sure if it really shows the spirit of giving that defines the season.

What if we gave gifts for Christmas without expecting anything in return? (Click to tweet!)

That’s why I don’t want anything for Christmas this year. I only want to give. I love getting things for my kids, and watching their faces light up on Christmas morning. I think it’s quite meaningful to give and share joy with others. But I’d rather redirect anything given to me year.

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The best gift I can get is seeing someone else being blessed.

I’d love to see a several dozen men in Haiti get jobs through the better part of next year that will allow them to feed their families.

I’d love to see hundreds of children have a place where they can get a quality education, the foundation of change for their nation’s future.

I’d love to see a pastor in Haiti have the tools and resources to be a catalyst for change.

Those are the things that warm my heart and bring me joy. And all it takes to make these things happen? A brick.

A brick… that’s all I want for Christmas. (Click to tweet!)

Yeah, a brick may not be a glamorous gift. But it’s a powerful one that will leave a long legacy. When the Help One Now Bloggers‘ Legacy Project of building a school in Haiti is complete, it will have somewhere around 4,000 bricks. I expect that a few will have my name (virtually) on them. One could be there in your honor too. And you can put bricks there on someone else’s behalf.

Together our bricks will stand as a testimony to the true meaning of Christmas and the heart of giving.

How to shop for Christmas:

  • Create a Pure Charity account
  • Fund your personal giving account
  • Buy a (virtual) brick for $25 for the current phase of the project
  • Install the browser widget and build you personal giving fund for additional donations to the project
  • Invite your friends to join the Generation of Generosity

Note: You can fund your charitable giving through Pure Charity by shopping through their Rewards Partners. Imagine getting all of your Christmas shopping done, and using the rewards to buy a brick or two!


  1. SimplyDarlene

    Sir Dan,
    I think you are RIGHTon with this! (I wrote something similar the other day)

    Thanks for the ideas, resources, and ways to give gifts to Christ.


    • Dan King

      great minds, darlene! i hadn’t noticed your post (yet), but it’s good to know that there are more of us on the same page!

  2. pastordt

    Dan. I had no idea you had lost your job. I am so, so sorry. But I am so very proud of this piece and the heart behind it. Thank you for this good reminder to reach out to others in the midst of this season. Our family is moving in that direction, slowly, slowly. The adults give each other small gifts that are personal and larger gifts in honor of one another to various projects that we believe in. We still give our grandkids gifts – but not a big pile any longer. Small is good. Small is appropriate. I love the Pure Charity idea and hope to use it over the next couple of weeks. My initial attempt failed as I didn’t understand about the plug-in part. :>(

    • Dan King

      thanks diana. yeah, i’ve been pretty open about new work and clients and stuff, but hadn’t thrown out a big announcement about losing the job. it was kind of a shock, but not really. regardless, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me career-wise, because now i’m doing what i absolutely love full-time!

      and i love your perspective on gift giving. small IS good. small means that we might be able to be bigger in other ways. that’s my goal.

  3. Megan Willome

    Love your part in the work in Haiti, Dan.


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christmas and the heart of giving

by Dan King time to read: 3 min