Five special Christmas gifts you can't pull from a shelf

Check out 5 gifts from MCC's Christmas giving guide to make a difference this year

Three young girls smiling and hugging

Sometimes the best gifts are ones that you can’t simply pull off a shelf. As you’re thinking about gifts for your family and friends, we have some suggestions for gifts that would delight your loved ones. And the best part is every gift in our Christmas Giving Guide helps share God’s love with others around the world.

Here are five unique gifts from the guide you can give your loved ones this Christmas.

A young woman holds a stringed instrument
Sara Ghabbash is learning to play the oud (a fretless stringed instrument similar to a lute) in an after-school music program at Lajee Center in Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank. (MCC photo/Melita Rempel-Burkholder)
1. For the musician in your life

Music is an expressive art form, a fun pastime and a powerful cultural connection for people all over the world. When you buy this gift for someone in your life who loves music, you’re supporting programs like an afterschool music program in Palestine, where youth like Sara Ghabbash from Aida Refugee Camp are learning to play the oud and other musical instruments traditional to Palestinian culture. 

Two people stand in a field with mountains in the background
Manuel de Jesus Elias and Maria Magdalena Perez on their small farm in El Palmar, a town in the region of Cuisinhuat, El Salvador. (MCC photo/Meghan Mast)
2. For the green thumb in your life

You can plant seeds both literally and metaphorically this Christmas by buying the gift of planting a garden. You’ll help families grow more food in sustainable ways and improve their ability to make a living. When you buy this gift, you support projects like the one in El Salvador, where farmers Manuel de Jesus Elias and Maria Magdalena Perez exchange seeds and build seed banks, helping restore biodiversity and preserve Indigenous crops on their farms.

A young girl poses with her notebook
Trina Hagidok is a student in fifth grade at Baromari Catholic Mission Salesian Sisters House, located in a remote area near Bangladesh's northern border. (MCC photo/James Kisku)
3. For the teacher in your life

Teachers know better than anyone that education is an essential part of living a rich life. This gift helps ensure that girls like Trina Hagidok of Bangladesh have access to the education they need, something that far too many young girls are prevented from accessing. Build a better world, one student at a time this Christmas!

A woman working on brightly colored fabric with a sewing machine
Rejoice Alojo sews clothes for women in her tailoring shop in Mangateen near Juba, South Sudan. Alojo is a graduate of a program run by MCC partner Women Empowerment Program (WEP) in Juba. (WEP photo/Florence Ayikoru (2020))
4. For the crafter in your life

Do you have a loved one who stockpiles yarn, always seems covered in paint or handmakes your gift every year? For your creative soul, buy the gift of a sewing machine to give people like Rejoice Alojo a chance to stitch their way to a brighter future. This gift means women like Alojo can sew clothes themselves, earning money that provides food, medicine, clothing and school fees for their children.

A young girl eats food from a shallow bowl
Amida Yunis James, a student at Rumbek Comboni Primary School, in South Sudan, eats a meal made with MCC canned turkey. (MCC/Fairpicture photo/David Lomuria)
5. For the foodie in your life

If you know someone who’s always volunteering to cook for the holidays, this could be the gift for them. In some parts of the world, school meals might be the only time a child eats in a day. This gift makes sure students like Amida Yunis James at Loreto Rumbek School in South Sudan don’t have to worry about learning on an empty stomach.