Her Views

5 christmas gifts for the unemployed

With the national unemployment rate in the U.S. at about 10%, odds are that everyone knows someone who has lost a job. And while it’s true that it’s really the thought – not the gift – that counts, people who are struggling to keep their home or feed their children might prefer something other than scented candles. Here are some ways to give a gift that counts.

1. Invite them to run errands with you. This may sound strange, but after being shut in at home for days or weeks at a time, it’s nice to get out of the house and spend time with a friend. We may not have any money, but it can be fun to help you spend yours.

2. Buy gift cards. Budget eliminates non-essentials, so intentionally give unemployed friends gift cards for “luxuries” – Starbuck’s cards, movie passes, or video rental gift cards. All-purpose gift cards for places like Target allow the receiver to purchase anything they need from clothing to food to shampoo.

3. Just ask. If you have a friend or family member who has lost a job, just ask them, “Is there anything in particular you need or want for Christmas this year?” It’s a win/win: your money is well-spent and they get a “perfect” gift.

4. Give your attention. Don’t forget that jobless friends may be struggling with confidence and self worth. Take a moment to call or send an email to let them know you’re thinking about them. Drop a card of encouragement in the mail. Being unemployed can be incredibly lonely, and it’s good to be reminded that others still care.

5. Give your time. Invite unemployed friends over for a meal. Or plan a potluck. Actually, in this economy we’re all mindful that it’s more about laughing with people we care about, and less about the money we spend.

Considering I’m currently unemployed, this might seem like an incredibly self-serving post. Except it’s not. Because every idea listed here is something one of my incredible friends has already done for me.

8 thoughts on “5 christmas gifts for the unemployed

  1. Jan,

    The title intrigued me as I was reading your facebook post. Now that I have read your blog, I am confident that your an angel! It’s funny how tuff times brings out the vacuum of genuineness. We become very singular in focus and begin narrowing the view of anyone else because of our own needs. Sadly we do forget how important it is to spend time with each other, how often we forget to get the needed things and most importantly protecting the person whose emotions are being tossed around by tons of emotions that will otherwise destroy those isolated from thier friends. Real friends should spend a little more time looking for the signs of opportunity to bless those we say we value!

    Just wanted to say thanks for drawing attention to the need to be a friend! “He who has friends, must first show himself friendly!”


  2. Jan,
    Just wanted to let you know that 1.) your blog rocks and 2.) encourage you that God is going to bless you beyond anything you can imagine. You are extremely talented and you have an amazing heart. God sees that and He’s definitely going to use it. Miss you, praying for you šŸ™‚



    1. So lovely to have the fabulous Miss F. stop by… šŸ˜‰ Thank you so much for your encouragement. I’m definitely getting some real-life training in walking by faith. Miss you too!


  3. Jan – All great ideas!

    Here’s another possibility: write a heartfelt recommendation for someone who is unemployed (i.e., a letter or a LinkedIn recommendation).

    I owe a number of people recommendations I haven’t gotten around to getting done amid my own job transition. Writing the recommendations not only is a help for a job search, but it is also a confidence booster for them at a time when they likely need it!

    God bless you!



  4. I liked Mike’s suggestion. My work is very slow lately, and I just got invited to pay my own way to a Christmas event. I declined; I’m having to be so selective this year.

    Aren’t you technically employed if you have a seasonal job selling men’s shoes?


  5. Thanks all, for your encouragement. Mike, your suggestion to write a recommendation is great – and should be the 6th option. šŸ™‚ KS, that’s a good way to put it – I think a lot of people are having to be more selective about gifts, and events and going out this year. (And yes, though only part-time and temporary, I AM employed and grateful for it!)


  6. This is great! I am unemployed and going to college. This are all great. When you need to pay bills or get soap, a candle is so worthless. Thanks for posting this blog.


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