How Will You Surprise Your Family This Year?

An illustration of five different people. Text: Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Recently, we asked our friends on Compassion’s Facebook page to share how they use the Compassion Gift Catalog to give in honor of their friends and family. We heard so many amazing stories, but Holly’s really stood out! We love how she uses the catalog to bless her entire family — especially those on a difficult journey!

As it is with most families, Christmas is a busy time in my family. During the holidays my husband and I travel across multiple states, balancing celebrations and working around everyone’s busy schedules. It gets chaotic, but it also has beautiful moments.

Each year, our family asks for fewer gifts.

Our parents tell us that the only gift they want is their family surrounding them. Even our siblings are now starting to do the same as the focus turns to the next generation.

In a way, it is a relief. And in a way, it’s exciting because now I get to use the Compassion Gift Catalog to surprise them with a gift, given in their honor, that will change the life of a child. It also reminds all of us to pause in the midst of the busyness and remember that we are all a part of God’s chaotic, beautiful story.

I started giving gifts through the Compassion Gift Catalog six years ago. I’m a longtime sponsor with 21 years of sponsoring just older children. I love the opportunity the catalog provides and the extra blessings local churches can bestow because of it. It is also the perfect way to give a gift to someone who already has much of what they want. It has so much more meaning as you are ministering not just to them by donating in their honor but also the family who receives the gift. You end up providing twice the impact!

I also love the excitement of browsing the catalog and matching up the perfect gift with each person.

When I start handing out cards, with the gift I’ve given in their honor enclosed, everyone starts wondering out loud what I chose for them that year. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how I shop the catalog to find the perfect gifts for my loved ones. Hopefully it sparks some great ideas for you!

An illustration of a man with a mustache and green shirt.My father-in-law

…is a pastor and also a professor, so I look for an education-minded gift. He likes that a young person will have a chance at a brighter future through the donation. A great gift for him is the gift of textbooks.


An illustration of a woman wearing pearls and a purple shirt.My mother

…is an avid gardener, so I look for either seed or tree gifts. She’ll be so excited to open the gift of fruit trees.


An illustration of a couple.My brother’s family

…is whom I love picking out gifts for most. He and his wife have been on a long journey to parenthood — with many bumps along the way. Each year, they’d get just a bit closer in their adoption journey. And three years ago, we celebrated our first Christmas with the baby they adopted.

I love looking through the mother-and-baby options and picking out what closely matches their current situation. The first year it was a birth attendant, the next it was a newborn care package, last year it was an infants’ medical care, and this year it will be toys for a playroom. They are always very grateful that I’ve reached out and blessed someone else in their name, and they and love how I’ve made it align with where they are in their lives. You can see on their faces the impact it is having.

So, how will I surprise my family this year? I can’t wait to start browsing the catalog and decide how best to honor them!

Here are some gift ideas for a few more of the difficult-to-shop-for people on your list:

An illustration of a woman in a pink shirt.Teacher:

There’s a whole section of education-themed gifts, including textbooks and scholarships, that will work for the teachers in your life.


An illustration of a man with a beard and glasses.Pastor or Mentor:

Think about how excited your pastor, Sunday school teacher or mentor will feel to know that a Bible was given in their honor!


An illustration of a woman in a yellow shirt.Coworker:

It seems that EVERYONE loves to see a cute goat or chicken given in their honor! They are some of our most popular gifts.


An illustration of a woman wearing pearls and a purple shirt.Grandparents:

One of our favorite ways to honor a grandparent is by giving care to a waiting child. This allows children to receive immediate support while waiting for a sponsor. It’s a beautiful way to honor the grandparents in our lives who pour into the children around them.

Feeling inspired but don’t know where to start? You can add an honor gift to presents you’ve already purchased for that person, or have it be the only thing you get. And it’s the perfect way to shop for the person who is hard to buy for. You’re sure to find a gift that relates to something they’re passionate about.

The result is not something that will be enjoyed just for the moment but is something that will have a lasting impact on both your loved ones and a child in need!

Find a Gift! ›

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