Christmas in July (gallery)

Eastern Mediterranean (Antioch?), Processional...

Today we continue to explore alternatives to market-driven gifting from the perspective of collections, with a special emphasis on gifts that connect you to your recipients and your recipients to one another.

Personal Collections

Several years ago my mother-in-law, who has quite the Precious Moments figurine collection, decided to gift her collection to the family. Gathered in her home, she asked every grandchild, child and spouse to choose a figurine that meant something to us. This was our piece of her – and our memories of time spent in her home – what a wonderful gift! Each of us took home a memory, but also a connection to one another. Those figurines now sit on shelves across the country – a daily reminder of Grandma, her faith, and our family.

Perhaps you have such a collection – something that has outlived it’s shelf-life or outgrown its space in your home. Something that others connect with thoughts of you. Something that would mean the world to those who have grown up around those shelves. Maybe this is the perfect year to gift out your collection – and foster new connections among the ones you love!

Creating Collections

The same idea can be harnessed for those who don’t have personal collections… Create one! Take an item – something you like, something that tells others about you, something funny – and create a collection from which to give!

Crazy Socks – start a collection of silly socks as you find them on sale or online. Give each person on your list a pair that reminds you of them!

Hats – I did this one year with stocking hats – for my nephews. Each one received a different goofy hat – some were animals, others were woven in loud colors or wild designs. Start early in order to have the opportunity to buy on sale or in bulk!

Crosses – I have a wall full of crosses in my home. Each one has been gifted to me by someone special, with a unique story to go along with it. I’m definitely not looking to re-home my own crosses, but because I value my collection, I could spend the next six months finding uniquely crafted crosses to give as gifts in December. Recipients would know the connection if they’ve been as far as my front door, and they would also be connected to each other by receiving such a gift from me.

Any type of item would work as a gifting collection: picture frames, jewelry boxes, salt shakers, sand castles, a particular color of glassware, seashells… Simply make the connection to who you are and what you love!


One year my sister gave original framed art gifts to everyone in the family. Each was hand-painted by my nephew (who was 4 or 5 at the time), numbered like an art collection, and framed. This could easily work with a single picture, photo, painting or sketch as well – simply number the prints and frame them! Consider enclosing a card that pictures each print given, so that you can share the entire gallery with every recipient.


Giving from your own library is another way to pass along memories to those whom you love! If your family is spending the holiday with you, consider inviting each to choose a book that would be meaningful to them from your collection. If you have a favorite title, begin scouring book and thrift stores (and for enough copies of that title to share with everyone on your list! Favorite author? Select a book for each recipient from his/her list of titles.

Tell Your Story

Some of the most enjoyable gifting experiences stem from the events you’ve lived.If you had a funny or meaningful thing happen to you this year, is there an object connected to the story? Look for ways to give that also share that story with others.

Here are a few things to consider when gallery-gifting:

  • Start early – especially when collecting harder to find items.
  • Give the gift – share the gallery! Include a photo of the entire collection so your recipients will see how what you have given also connects them to others.
  • Buy in bulk – especially with books! If you plan to give many of a single title, shop around for case discounts online.
  • Shop off-season! You will find great deals if you wait until the end of the season to stock up.
  • Write out the story that connects your gift to you! Include a copy with the gift, even if you plan to tell the story in person.

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