A Real Birthday Present For Jesus- Gift Idea

We make a BIG deal out of Christmas being Jesus’ birthday around here. We bake a birthday cake, we sing happy birthday- it’s pretty much the first thing (even my littlest kids) will tell you about Christmas.

happy birthday jesus present ideas

So where was Jesus’ present? My oldest wanted to know. I wanted to have a concrete present to get for Jesus, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it could be. Then, I read this:

“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40

Wow. It felt so obvious. Get something for the least of our brothers for Jesus for Christmas.

I had seen some “blessing bags” on various blogs, and I knew it was the right fit! The basic idea behind a blessing bag is that you fill a freezer bag with items that would be useful to homeless people in your area, and give them out whenever you have the opportunity. This is kind of nice because you know if your area is hot or cold, rainy or dry, what season it is that you’re passing these out during, etc. You still don’t know exactly who they’re going to, but you can make some good, educated guesses as to what might be handy.

Then we filled a big box with blessing bags, wrapped it up, placed a tag on it for Jesus, and put it under the tree.

happy birthday jesus present - Copy

After Christmas dinner, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, ate the Happy Birthday Jesus cake, and then let the kids open the big present to Jesus full of blessing bags! Then we invited everyone to take some of the blessing bags with them to give out. My mom, dad, and nana all told me how much they liked having the blessing bags to pass out, and asked me if we’re making them again this year. My kids loved having the opportunity to pass them out as well. They were a hit!

I would suggest making your bags in increments of 10 so you can buy things in groups of 10. For instance, we got a 10 pack of socks, a 10 pack of peanut butter crackers, etc. This year we will make 20 bags because we were super bummed when we ran out, and I want them to last the year. Once I got used to handing out blessing bags, I felt like amoeba on fleas on rats when I saw someone with a sign and didn’t have any left.

Here are some things you can put in a blessing bag:

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  • Hotel soap, shampoo, etc
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • fingernail clippers
  • hand sanitizer
  • socks
  • cheese crackers
  • apple sauce and plastic spoon
  • hard candies
  • matches
  • a holy card or note
  • brush or comb
  • McDonald’s gift cards
  • hand warmers
  • gloves
  • winter hat or baseball cap (you know your region/season)
  • sunblock
  • chapstick
  • juice boxes
  • beef jerky
  • razor

I was reading about blessing bags online this year, and I came across a post that was written by a formerly homeless person. The post I found was very rude, but it made some good points about what homeless people have access to. They said that any homeless person has access to soap in public bathrooms, and anyone who wants a toothbrush already has one, etc. It also made the point that homeless people don’t have anywhere to store things. So I decided to concentrate our bags on consumable food items instead this year.

How To Pack Blessing Bags:

Start by laying out your bags across your table or floor. Let the children take the items and place one on each bag.

happy birthday jesus- packing blessing bags - Copy

When they have everything split up evenly, fill the bags, and zip them shut.

packing blessing bags with kids

Last year, our blessing bags cost about $10 each to pack, but again, this year I’m concentrating on consumable food items.

You could certainly fill sandwich baggies with just a snack. This is not Operation shoe box- there are no rules. Just one person handing a gift to another. No one is going to tell you not to pack liquids or flammables (although I will tell you for the sake of your car not to pack things that will melt.) If you don’t have time to make blessing bags, you could just purchase a stack of McDonald’s gift cards to give out instead.

I keep these in a compartment in my van, but I always keep one under the driver’s seat. That way, I can grab it really fast at stop lights to hand out the window. So far, I only give them to people that are holding signs asking for help. These have been very well received, and a great hands-on way to get my kids involved with giving during the year.


  1. What an amazing idea! Thank you for sharing.

  2. WONDERFUL idea!!!!! Thanks for the suggestions!!!!! I’ve linked this article to my two blogs:

  3. Dougie Douglas-Colten says

    This is a wonderful idea. Do remember that food items will pick up the flavor of cosmetics, so best not to put them in the same bag.

  4. Arlene@Nanaland says

    What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wonderful idea. Thank you. I am pinning this to remember ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. This is such a sweet idea! We will plan on it. Thank you for the post.

  7. What a great idea!

  8. Very nice idea, Lacy! You hit the true meaning of Christmas! Love it! ๐Ÿ™‚
    For us, I think we’ll wrap up gift cards from Giant or other grocery stores. I find it difficult to keep any liquid-type items in the car – I’ve had hand-sanitizer bottles explode in the car and chapstick melt in the car. (because of heat) and I’ve had loads of other stuff freeze in the winter. So I’m thinking a gift card for a grocery store should let them decide what they can use.
    Thanks so much for the idea.
    Have a blessed Christmas!

    • Hi Jennifer! I applaud your intentions in giving out store cards, but the idea also gave me pause, as grocery store cards make it too easy to buy alcohol. It’s unfortunate, but giving something specific like food is better, because you never know if someone’s a junkie.

      I do like the blessing bag idea, though. Here’s another thought–how about giving them to churches that have high numbers of homeless people in the neighborhood and they can give them out? A church I used to go to was right in the middle of town with a bus station down the hill, and we had homeless people come in all the time.

      • I have the same reservations about gift cards, which I why I mentioned a McDonald’s gift card. One of my favorite parts of this is the kids actually seeing people getting the bags, and in some cases, handing them out, so although it could be a great idea to give them to a church, that would kill my favorite part of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • True. It’s always a good thing to broaden horizons. Your kids will never forget! Been really enjoying this site, by the way–fun stuff… ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Hi Rebecca, I live in PA. Our grocery stores are not allowed to sell alcohol. I forgot that the rest of the country doesn’t have that same law. Here in PA we need to go to government-run liquor stores to buy alcohol. — Guess they think we drink too much in PA! lol! ๐Ÿ™‚ And your point is a good one, if you live in an area that sells alcohol in grocery stores. God bless.

        • Hi Jennifer, thanks for your good wishes! I forgot all about PA’s liquor law (I’m in California, so yeah, our grocery stores sell alcohol). Every state has its quirks, lol. God bless you too, and Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Really? I didn’t know there were states like that. In South Carolina, the grocery stores can sell alcohol, but not liquor. And the liquor stores aren’t allowed to sell beer and wine- they have to be in a separate store. I don’t know who comes up with this stuff. lol. I think grocery store gift cards in an area where no alcohol is allowed is a great idea!

          • Hi Ladies,
            Ironically, my husband informed me that PA just changed it’s alcohol selling laws. He said that some grocery stores can now sell beer. I haven’t seen it at our local stores yet, but he said he saw some at another store close to where he works. So I guess I’ll be sticking with Mcd’s cards anyway. lol! That’s funny and yet upsetting!
            Blessings to you and your families in the new year!

          • It’s probably good anyway because McDonald’s is everywhere, practically within walking distance of anything.

      • We have a grocery store here (Winco) that has two types of gift cards. One allows purchases of anything in the store, including alcohol. The other is called “family friendly” or something like that and is not good for alcohol or cigarette purchases. That’s a better option for handing out if one of your local stores has such an option.

  9. The gift of giving all year long! How wonderful. And God Bless your family for doing this. As for me and my house, I think I need to take the lead in doing good deeds like this. I just need to braver to get that first step going, you know? Sometimes, it’s a little intimidating to hand things out to homeless people, I don’t know why, but it does. I really just need some more courage to get it started….

  10. Connie Mollison says

    Thank you for the wonderful ideas! A friend told me about your blog. Now I’m hooked!

  11. Blessing bags are such a good thing. Some of your ideas I hadn’t thought of before, but will keep those in mind for the future. You mentioned that homeless people don’t have room to store things & I have read other people making extra special blessing bags by filling up a backpack that they bought at a thrift store.

  12. My class collected cake mix/icing/and party plates to donate to our local food pantry so that if someone came in needing food they would also be able to receive a “birthday party” if they needed. We focused on the same scripture quote from Matthew and said that we were throwing a birthday for Jesus.

  13. Hi! This is a lovely idea but – as a formerly homeless person myself – can I make a suggestion? TALK to the homeless folks in your area and ask them what items would be useful. It’s so lonely on the streets homeless folk are usually over the moon when someone takes the time to actually treat you like a human being and talk to you, rather than just assuming what you might need. Once you start talking you’ll likely make friends and be able to share the Catholic faith with them regularly – you may even find that like me they are Catholic too and that their fath and your faith are mutually strengthened. ๐Ÿ™‚