Useless Gifts

This is a partial re-post from last year’s popular Epiphany gift boxes. The rest will come next week, but I thought this would make a good ‘time out of the flurry’ just before Christmas. I know that I need to step back sometimes and get some space to think about the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’. Would you care to join me?

So here is a gentle reflection on gifts at Christmas. May you be blessed with the presence amid the presents, and see beyond the wrapping to the greatest gift of all.

Happy Christmas


Useless Gifts

three wise womenThe wise men brought some pretty weird gifts for a new-born baby. Surely a blanket or baby-grow would have been more use? Or, I dunno, a proper bed?

But the wise men brought what they had, and that’s all anyone can do. We also, can bring to God what we have. We may look at some famous Christian ‘super-saints’ and think, “I couldn’t do that. I don’t have their gifts.” That’s OK, you’re not supposed to.

God knows what your gifts are and he’s not expecting you to use someone else’s. So on this day when we are giving gifts right, left and centre, what gifts will you bring to the babe in the manger?

No idea? This thought-filled gift box will help. You can place it under the tree or in the crib scene on Christmas Eve as an offering, an act of worship.

You will need:

  • Star gift box template [click here for full-size]template gift box
  • thick paper or thin card
  • craft materials for decorating, eg stick-on gems, metallic paints, gold and silver marker pens
  • coloured pens

Print or trace the template on to card or thick paper. Cut around the solid lines, fold on the dotted lines.

Decorate one side of your card shape to make it look like a precious gift that the wise men might have brought. The central square will be the bottom of your box, the surrounding rectangles will be the sides and the star (in two halves) will be on the top.

On the other side of your card, use coloured pens to fill the box with your gifts. In the centre square, write your name. Then on each of the four arms fill something in under these headings:

I can … (things you can do)
I am … (things about you)
I have … (things you have)
I will … (things you want to do to please God)

You can have lots of things in each section if you like, and you can change the topics, these are just suggestions to get you started. It does not matter how small or useless you think your gifts are – remember that the ‘wise’ men brought completely impractical gifts!


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When you have filled your box with gifts, bring the sides together, pushing the corner triangles inwards. Then slot the two halves of the star together to close the box and offer your gifts to God.

epiphany gift boxes


Photo credits

with thanks to Kuhan Satkunanayagam of St Mary’s, Long Ditton, for the photo of their Epiphany service.

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