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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sharing Bountiful Baskets | Giving Ideas this Holiday

In the spirit of #GivingTuesday I thought I would share an amazing little "Giving" event I hosted a couple of weeks ago : )

Every year our Church hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for members the week before.  This year, I was asked to contribute the centerpieces for each table.  Initially, I thought - easy, I'll just grab some candles from the store, some leftover wheat bundles and call it a day.  I was sort of thinking of it as just one more thing I had to do during the launch of my Holiday product line and just before we were hosting Thanksgiving at our house...  perfect.  

Then I had a moment.  I thought, during the Holiday season I really hate "wasting" money on decorations when it could put it to better use - I wanted the centerpieces to do something besides look pretty.  

My idea was to make a big bountiful basket for each table to serve as the centerpiece, each containing all of the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner (minus the Turkey), and each made for and donated to a family in need after the dinner was over.

These baskets were made not as handout, but as a gift that was joyfully made and given.  I wanted them to have fresh vegetables and fresh herbs, just like I buy for my own family.  The idea was to be that it wasn't just a gift of utility, but of grace and plentiful bounty, that even in struggling times, sharing and experiencing something beautiful is still important.  I wanted each family receiving these baskets to experience the joy of receiving a beautiful gift - not to be thought of as a donation.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 
The plan was for Mike and I to buy and donate all of the supplies for these 24 baskets.  I thought it would be fun to recruit some friends to help assemble the baskets - a party, maybe a little girls night with wine + snacks, to make it fun.

That's when the magic happened.  I send an email to about 15 friends from Church and our neighborhood Mom's group to invite them over for a fun night putting together Thanksgiving baskets.  Within 15 minutes, almost all had replied "Yes, and what can I bring to contribute!"  I made up a shopping list, thinking we'd still be donating a good chunk of the goods.  These women replied back in record time, donating every single item on the list.  It was amazing.

And what's more, they were glad to do it - so very happy to help.  I feel so blessed to have cultivated a group of friends with such large hearts and willing spirits.  These women take care of their own children and families all day long, work jobs, run their households, and exhaust themselves taking care of others, yet they jump at the opportunity to help and take care of someone else.  To think, I almost missed this opportunity by taking the easy way out.

Here are some of the busy bees buzzing around filling baskets, making sure they were each beautiful. 
There may have even been some competition...

The new farmhouse table piled with potatoes and pie shells.

Mike was out of town so Emma got to join in on the Mom's night.

I hope this inspires some of you to host a giving party of your own over the Christmas season.   An idea that I've been thinking about is a basket for Moms in need that have all of the fun stuff we love for Christmas - wrapping paper, ribbons, tags, decorations + gift card.  These are the things that we all love help us make a magical Christmas morning for our children, and that if you are scraping together enough money for a couple of presents for your children, you might not be able to splurge on.  Just an idea!

Here are the baskets set up at the church the next day.

Thank you to all of my dear friends that came together to make a little magic this season.  I'm so honored and blessed from your giving!


If you are looking for a good place to Give, Harvesters is matching all donations today!  So, that 3 meals for every $1, just turned into 6.

Donate to Harvesters, here >


  1. Jenny,

    So beautiful and gracious. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Beautiful baskets. What a wonderful cause.

  3. Anonymous3:41 PM

    What a wonderful idea! You managed to make a beautiful centerpiece that would go to a good cause. I work at a church and will certainly keep this in mind. Where did you get the lovely baskets? I love reading these kinds of stories. Isn't it amazing that sometimes all you have to do is ask and people are more than willing to lend a hand!

    Pat in Chicago

  4. I love this!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Your inspiration really hit home and I love your idea of a basket full of gift wrapping goodies!

  5. Jenny -- I love this idea. My daughter Chloe and I donated our time on Thursdays at the First Parish church in Concord for a year when she was younger -- 12 (she's 20 now, so much younger). It was an amazing experience. So glad you're doing this and invited others to help participate! Wish I was there to contribute but will find another place nearby! Happy Holidays

  6. Anonymous7:29 PM

    This is the most loving/brilliant idea I've ever seen! Seasons blessings to you Jenny!

  7. Anonymous9:24 PM

    Beautiful idea!!! How generous too!! Very nice to have fresh things instead of canned.

  8. I'm so glad you shared this! I love this idea and how they turned out.

  9. Love everything about this!!

  10. What a wonderful story and a fabulous idea! Loved it all. And I know the families that received those baskets appreciated the contents and the beauty. :)


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