Unless you are one of the two people who won the Powerball Lottery a few weeks back, you more than likely don’t have a budget to purchase iPod mini’s for your entire Core Team as Christmas gifts (but wouldn’t that be great if you could?).
So how do you thank the Core Team that kept your life normal (or as close to normal as possible in youth ministry), Christ centered (even if that means your lack of patience with Core resulted in weekly confession), peaceful (I can hope, right?), and full of radiant joy?
Well here are a few ideas for inexpensive, yet truly affirming gifts for your Core.
1. Core Handbook (New and Improved)
Not sure if you are aware but there is a brand new Core Handbook in the Life Teen Store and it is a perfect gift for your Core to be on fire to serve the God through the teens in the new year. Pick one up for each Core Member and just add a bow (it already has a festive red cover).
2. Bulletin Sponsor Gift Cards/Certificates
Look at which local restaurants or businesses advertise in your parish bulletin. Typically they are parishioners and are willing to donate gift cards or certificates. Ask the owner if they would be willing to help out with Christmas gifts for the Core.
3. Core Dinner
Take the Core to dinner at a local restaurant (see bulletin for parishioners and see if they will give a discount) or cook one for them. Invite the teens to serve the dinner if you cook and either perform a song or pray over the Core as a special gift.
4. Babysitting Gift Certificates
If you have Core with children, ask teens to donate a night of free babysitting for the Core Member and their spouse to have a night off. Teens want to do something nice for the Core and this is a great way for them to give back. If possible add a gift card for a movie or combine it with the restaurant gift card (above).
All of us have old trophies in the closet or you can find them at local thrift stores. Get new plaques made for the trophies and give out funny but affirming trophies for the Core Team.
6. Spiritual Book
I love to curl up and read a great book by the fireplace (in Arizona I have to play the Yule Log on Netflix but it still works). Select a book the entire Core can read together and encourage discussions on a weekly basis (like a book club). Make it relevant to where you want the Core to be spiritually as they lead the teens closer to Christ in the New Year.
7. Picture Frame (with youth group photo)
Frames can be inexpensive and nice gifts to give to Core. Take a Core or teen group shot and place it in the frame. If you can find discounted online photo albums that you can create like a yearbook, it’s a fun idea as well (but can be pricy).
8. Thank You Jar
Purchase a glass jar or box and decorate it festively. Then fill it with thank you notes from your teens, parents of teens, priest(s), staff and yourself. You can add some candy to the jar if you want, but the notes will be more memorable than an increased waistline.
9. Mass Card
Go to your front office and have a Mass said for each Core Member by name during the year (possibly on their Birthday or feast of a family members death). Then you can give them a Mass card saying that Mass is being offered up for their intentions on a specific day. This is especially powerful when a Core Member has lost a close family member that year.
10. Gift Certificate Book
Create a gift certificate book with ideas like “Coffee Talk” or “Holy Hour” or “Life/Edge Night Off” that they can redeem any time during the year. This is a fun way to do relational ministry with your Core throughout the year as well.
11. Christmas Card
Write a sincere message on a Christmas card that shares all the ways your Core Member has been a reflection of Christ during the year. We think our Core knows they are loved and appreciated, but you never know when they need a written reminder, especially when ministry to teens gets tough.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure if comes from a place of deep gratitude for all your Core Members have done throughout the year. If you have additional ideas, please be sure to post them in the comments below. Thank you for all the ways you love and lead not only your teen closer to Christ, but your Core Members as well.
You are a gift to the Life Teen family!