Gifts That Can’t Be Wrapped
by Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect upon the nature of Christmas giving.
Preparation and materials
- You will need three easily identifiable items wrapped in Christmas paper, such as a bar of Toblerone, a teddy bear and a football.
- Optional: you may wish to use three readers for the Christmas story in the ‘Assembly’, Steps 4 to 6.
- Optional: you may wish to intersperse some songs after the readings in the ‘Assembly’, Steps 4 to 6, in which case you will also need the means to play them.
- You will need three sets of words - ‘Warmth and Shelter’, ‘Joy and Peace’ and ‘Love and Care’ - written on A4 sheets to display during the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly.
- Talk about your Christmas preparations and the need to wrap gifts.
Show the pre-wrapped gifts.
Invite the children to identify the items inside, based on their shape.
- Refer to the different parcels and reflect that some items are easier to wrap than others. Preparing a surprise gift can sometimes be a struggle, especially if it is an awkward shape.
Explain that some shops offer to wrap gifts for an extra payment, and there are even companies that will wrap ‘mega-presents’, such as cars!
- Reflect that there are some gifts that can’t be wrapped. Explain that some of these are found in the Christmas story.
- Invite the children to listen to Luke 2.1-7.
Explain that the innkeeper had an unwrappable gift for Mary and Joseph: the warmth and shelter of a stable.
- Invite the children to listen to Luke 2.8-15.
Explain that the angels who sang a wonderful song of praise brought a gift that couldn’t be wrapped to the shepherds: the gift of joy and peace.
- Invite the children to listen to Luke 2.16-20.
Explain that Mary and Joseph had wrapped baby Jesus in swaddling bands, which was a traditional way of enabling new babies to feel snug and secure. This was a sign of a third unwrappable gift: that of love and care.
Time for reflection
Show the three sets of words.
Emphasize how gifts that cannot be wrapped were part of the very first Christmas.
Invite the children to consider how warmth and shelter, joy and peace, and love and care are gifts to be thankful for every Christmastime.
Encourage them to consider quietly how such gifts can be shared. Some of the most important gifts are the ones that can’t be wrapped!
Invite the children to reflect upon gifts that can’t be wrapped, choose one to be thankful for and share their choice with others.
In your love for everyone, you gave the world your son.
May giving and sharing be the mark of our Christmas celebrations, today and always.
After Luke 2.1-7, you could play verses 1, 2 and 5 from ‘Once in royal David’s city’, available at: https://youtu.be/QmspXB6lUeg (5.37 minutes long) or ‘See him lying on a bed of straw’, available at: https://youtu.be/xRt4x9-r5vA (2.24 minutes long)
After Luke 2.8-15, you could play ‘Silent night’, available at: https://youtu.be/nEH7_2c644Q (3.34 minutes long) or ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’, available at: https://youtu.be/LmyZOCsoEHM (2.46 minutes long)
After Luke 2.16-20, you could play ‘Away in a manger’, available at: https://youtu.be/AnwO_0DrpCk (1.59 minutes long) or ‘In the bleak midwinter’, available at: https://youtu.be/cBCYZ9jIJkI (3.49 minutes long)