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Thoughtful Gift Ideas 49: The Little White Envelope – the gift of giving others

Thoughtful Gift Ideas 49: The Little White Envelope – the gift of giving others

A beautiful idea I saw on facebook – looks perfect for an Eid gift!

THE LITTLE WHITE ENVELOPE: “It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.”
For the Man Who Hated Christmas

(A true Christmas Story by Nancy W. Gavin, December 2015)

Familiarising our children with the Holy Quran – Idea 6: Discuss!

Familiarising our children with the Holy Quran – Idea 6: Discuss!

  • Someone sent this great idea in:

“Sometimes we take the names of the Surah and talk about why this surah is named this way.. mostly surahs like Al Baqarah and Naml and Nahl.. etc.. we discuss the meanings and the story that refers to the names and read the verses regarding those stories. We also tried watching the movie Nabi Yusuf and discussed Surah Yusuf along with the movie.. like finding which verses was the episode of the series was based on.”

  • Why not share something you’ve learnt about an ayah from a lecture/tafsir class at the dinner table? Or write it up on the board for reflection and discussion?
  • Sheikh Murtadha Alidina also one shared a story of a family who has inculcated the habit of reading an ayah of the Quran with it’s translation after salaam. Just one ayah and with understanding – but regularly. Perhaps something we can put into practise whenever we recite salaatul jamaa’a with our families?
Familiarising our children with the Holy Quran – Idea 5: Apps, Games and other Interactive Ways to Learn!

Familiarising our children with the Holy Quran – Idea 5: Apps, Games and other Interactive Ways to Learn!

The link below is amazing! It has so many awesome ideas on how to get our children familiar with the different verses of the Quran, as well as links to learning the names of the Suras via mneumonics, a Bingo game, and more! Check out the tabs on the right.

  • This looks like a great app:

  • These videos help children see and learn some of the common Suwer in the Quran:

Familiarising our children with the Holy Quran – Idea 4: Lessons from the Quran Colouring Books

Familiarising our children with the Holy Quran – Idea 4: Lessons from the Quran Colouring Books

  • These colouring books are such a wonderful resource! They pick out different akhlaqi verses from the Quran and have a colouring picture to denote that in action. We’ve had them for a few years now and just randomly my 11 year old daughter asked me to hunt them out for her, as she was tempted to colour in them again! Of course, once coloured in and discussed, they can then be highlighted/journalled in the Quran!
  • This is another colouring book i came across which focuses on the Rabbana Duas from the Quran