Below you’ll find the show notes for episode 50, The Best Christmas Gifts and Games for Your Women’s Ministry, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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The Best Christmas Gifts and Games for Your Women’s Ministry
This post wraps up our Christmas mini-series! Be sure to check out the previous posts, Things to Consider When Planning a Women’s Ministry Christmas Event and Creative Christmas Event Ideas for Your Women’s Ministry.
Today our focus is on the best Christmas gifts and games for your Women’s Ministry.
I love to give great gifts and I also love to receive gifts! There’s something about the time taken and thoughtfulness of gifts given that speaks to my heart.
Side note: This post on Volunteer Appreciation: Great Gifts and Guidance includes a lot of specific gift-giving advice beyond what I’ll share in this post. Be sure to check it out!
Women’s Ministry Christmas gift giving generally falls into three categories:
- Gifts for Your Team
- Gifts for Your Women
- Gifts for church staff and pastor’s wives – which is totally optional and unless there’s a precedent, not expected.
When giving Christmas gifts, I do my best to give things that are:
Giving expensive gifts can make the recipient really uncomfortable, especially if they don’t have a gift to give you in return. You don’t want anyone to feel like they need to reciprocate.
If I had my choice, I would host a Christmas luncheon or dinner for the women’s ministry team.
I’d take them all to a restaurant if the budget and church policies allowed. If we had business to attend to, I’d keep it brief. We’d focus instead on fellowship and building relationships knowing it would pay off in dividends in the months to come. We’d pray together, thanking God for His goodness and provision. I know it can be tempting to give them the “month off” but every time I’ve done it it’s created more stress and work in the New Year.
The women’s ministry team I currently serve on has a potluck Christmas dinner together. Our women’s ministry team director loves to host it at her home. It’s a sweet and special time together. (It’s also a great time to shoot a short video or take a team photo that you can post on social media or send via email to wish all of your women a Merry Christmas.)
If you send out physical Christmas cards, I want to encourage you to send one to every member of your team.
They’ll feel extra special knowing they are on your Christmas list. It will send the message that they belong and that you love them like family. It may seem like a small thing, but I promise it can make a big impact!
When it comes to gifts for your team or your women, you may wish to find something that ties in with your women’s ministry theme or scripture focus for the year.
Consider things like mugs, tote bags, magnets, bookmarks, pretty scripture prints, or ornaments. Depending on your budget and skills, you may want to handcraft the item or get it custom-printed.
Christmas gifts don’t have to coordinate with your theme. You’ll find detailed instructions and tags for Christmas Potpourri, the Gift of No Dishes, and Comfy Cozy Inspirational Christmas Gift Ideas and Tags on the website. I’ll drop a link in the show notes.
Gifts between the women in your church aren’t needed or necessary, but gift exchanges can be fun.
I’m all about keeping the budget minimal so as many women as possible can participate. Selecting a gift exchange theme can encourage creativity and keep the focus on God’s Word. You’ll find additional help in the posts How to Host a Gift Exchange and 28 Gift Exchange Theme Ideas.
What about pastors, church staff, and pastor’s wives?
First, check and see what’s been done in the past. There may already be a plan in place and your team won’t need to duplicate or compete with what’s already planned. If there’s not a plan in place and your team feels led to do something, please be careful with the precedent you set. Next year’s team will likely want to bless that group again so make sure it’s in your budget and make sure it’s something that can be replicated. Handwritten notes of appreciation are always, always appreciated – much more so than gifts someone can’t use or doesn’t need.
Christmas fellowships provide the perfect opportunity for playing Christmas icebreaker games.
There are currently 16 Christmas icebreaker games on the Women’s Ministry Toolbox website, you’ll find them listed here. Left-right stories are great for gift exchanges and distributing door prizes. I especially like the one that’s based on the Christmas story as recorded in Luke 2. You’ll find games great for getting your women up and moving around the room and games that work better at tables. Wrap it Up is a fun game that always gets laughs.
Can I caution us to be careful about playing games to garner laughs?
We don’t ever, ever want to embarrass anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. We’d never want one of our women to leave our Christmas event upset. This is one of many reasons why I don’t recommend gift exchanges that include switching or stealing gifts. Yes, I’m talking about what some call Yankee Gift Swap, Dirty Santa, or White Elephant Exchanges.
I know I’m going to ruffle some feathers, but please hear me out on this. I’ve participated in my fair share of Dirty Santa games over the years. On the surface, it might look like everyone is having a grand time, but I have seen grown women cry over gifts that were “stolen” from them. I have watched women whimper when a gift they wanted was taken away. I’ve seen moms want to die of embarrassment. Friendships were tested. It broke my heart and made me ashamed to have been a part of it. Unfortunately, these were not isolated events. I’ve heard from dozens of women who have been hurt by these types of games too. Many of them do a great job of hiding their hurt from you.
It’s not worth the risk. Games that undermine the unity of our groups or hurt the feelings of our women have no place in our ministries.
Whether the goal is stealing gifts to get the best gift or trying to end up with the best of the gag gifts, neither feels very Christ-like.
God’s given us a great opportunity at Christmas to love others – let’s make sure the games we select and the gifts we give are a blessing and not a burden.
Today’s Toolbox Tasks:
- As a team, discuss whether or not you want to give Christmas gifts to your women, between your women, and to the staff this year.
- Prayerfully select gifts and games that will be a blessing and not a burden.
As we pray, plan, and prepare for our Christmas events, may Philippians 2:3 guide our steps, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.”
You may also want to read:
Things to Consider When Planning a Women’s Ministry Christmas Event
Creative Christmas Event Ideas for Your Women’s Ministry
Volunteer Appreciation: Great Gifts and Guidance
Gift of No Dishes
Comfy Cozy Inspirational Christmas Gift Ideas and Tags
How to Host a Gift Exchange
28 Gift Exchange Theme Ideas
Icebreakers and Games Masterlist
Left Right Nativity Story
Wrap It Up: Christmas Game
10 Things I’d Do Differently as a Women’s Ministry Leader During the Christmas Season
How to Select Your Women’s Ministry Theme or Scripture Focus