Caring for your staff and volunteers year-round should be a priority, but Christmas is the perfect time to express appreciation with a gift. Here’s a list of what I’ve given my ministry leaders throughout the years. Some gift ideas are cheaper than others, but they’re all practical, affordable, and doable.
—A $5 or $10 gift card to any fast-food restaurant is a hit. If your church has a café, ask for or create gift cards for a free coffee or food item. You can buy locally or from Amazon; the site sells gift cards to its own store as well as hundreds of others. If you’re in a pinch, Amazon will mail or email the cards to you!
—We often invite our staff and their spouses to gather at a local restaurant, our treat. It’s a way to say “we love you” to the volunteer and “thank you” to the spouse for lending those volunteers to us. (Pro Tip: Find a location with a private room that can accommodate the whole team.)
—A Christmas card with a personal note reaches someone’s heart in ways that food or money can’t. Every ministry can do this, no matter your budget!
—A resource related to youth ministry or personal growth is ideal for investing in people who are investing in others. This year we’re giving each of our junior high leaders Kurt Johnston’s book 99 Thoughts About Junior High Ministry. Consider also: The Jesus-Centered Life: 40 Devotions for Teenagers by Rick Lawrence and 24/7: Living for God In Real Life by Tim Levert and Grow Down by Ken Castor.
—I love sending photo cards from apps such as Ink and Postagram. Simply snap pics of you with each staff member; later, use the app to create a personal postcard that’s printed and mailed directly to team members. This may be the best dollar or two you spend all year!
—A customized 12-month calendar is a useful, meaningful gift that reminds team members they’re a key part of what God is doing in kids’ lives. Check out Vistaprint or search online for “custom calendars.”
—Fill bags with treats from a dollar store. It’s a fun gift to shop for and receive.
—Any homemade treat is a “win.” I’ve given and received cakes, cookies, even gourmet bacon. Food is a love language!
—I sincerely appreciate when my pastor gives me any of the presents mentioned above. But if he would coordinate a group of parents to send small gifts and encouragement, I’d be blown away. Your leaders love to be loved by you, but maybe this year you can reach out to parents. Ask them to send a note, gift, or gift card to their teenager’s small-group leader that says, “Thanks for your kingdom impact!”
What are you giving your leaders and volunteers this Christmas? I’d love to hear your gift ideas!