Chicks make excellent gifts

Bob Chell

Bob Chell

Do you, like me, have a compelling urge to clean your room, organize your desk or attack an overflowing pile of laundry when faced with an imminent deadline?

As Christmas break beckons and academic pressure bears down, more than a few of you are perusing the Collegian as an alternative to the task at hand. Welcome, I can help!

Not with the task at hand, unfortunately, but with the perennial problem, Christmas shopping. I’m no help with siblings, brothers-in-law or your beloved, but I can tell you with confidence the gift your parents and grandparents would most like to have. Here it goes …

For Grandma: chicks. Fifty or sixty. Not for her-for an impoverished family in Kenya. A hen can lay 200 eggs in a year. For $20, Grandma will love the hundreds of meals provided-and the fact that no dusting is required. (Heifer International, 1-800-422-0474,

For Gramps, a set of farm tools and training for a displaced family to use them: $125. It’s a lot, but then again, it saves lives of real people. Hungry people. (Lutheran World Relief, 1-800-597-5972,

Your grandparents listened to their parents’ stories of hunger growing up.

Tell them you are honoring them and their parents. Prepare for tears.

For Mom & Dad: coffee. Not any coffee, Tanzanian Jubilee. They taught you a day’s work for a day’s pay, and will enjoy knowing the growers received a fair price for their labor: only $7.75 and no bitter Starbucks aftertaste. (Equal Exchange, 1-774-776-7333,

You’re not done yet. That coffee is for Mom & Dad to drink while they read the letter you’re gonna write. The one telling Mom all she’s taught you and how her strength and grace under pressure sustains you, gifting you with confidence and courage. And the letter to Dad telling him you remember the time he spoke up when it would have been easier to keep silent, when he did the right thing, not the easy thing, and how that moment shaped and changed your life.

I guarantee when you go home at the end of May, if you slip into their room when they’re out, you’ll find your letter to Mom in her jewelry box and your letter to Dad in his sock drawer. For sure.

Shopping done, study break over, hit the books. Traveling mercies for that trip home to enjoy the greatest gift, the gift of Christmas.

Pastor Bob ChellUniversity Lutheran [email protected]