November 29, 2019

Staff Favorites: Holiday Gift Guide

By Grace Church

Still searching for the perfect gift for that special someone on your list? Check out these favorites from our staff families.


“Years ago when we were dirt poor, my wife, Kelly, bought me an incredible watch. It was such a great gift because it was totally extravagant. Kelly knows I like big things. I’d rather save up ten years to get something I really want than get a bunch of little things. I loved the watch because it was the kind of gift that lasts a lifetime.” -Mike Adkins, Senior Pastor

“My parents once gave me a multi-tool. I still use it some 15 years later. Another year my wife gave me one of those ‘affinity’ box subscriptions. It had gym gear. It was like getting a new, fun gift every month.” -Kyle Carden, Oviedo Worship Pastor

“This might sound silly or juvenile but one of the best gifts I received from my wife was a video game console last Christmas. It was so meaningful because in the process of raising four little ones, I stopped playing video games. This was her thoughtfully acknowledging that our kids are in a new stage, and she wanted me to enjoy something I gave up for our family for a season.” -Grant Nixon, Winter Garden Campus Pastor

“Kitchen gadgets always make me happy. In the past I’ve received chef’s knives, a food processor, high-speed blender, paella pan, and butcher block cutting boards. My wife and I also like to go on trips instead of giving gifts.” -Adrian Lenti, Executive Director

“I love books and I lend them out a lot, so one year my brother-in-law gave me a custom stamp to emboss all my books with my name. I thought it was really unique and thoughtful.” -Clint Harrison, Oviedo Campus Pastor

“I’ve always been a watch guy, and there was a specific watch I had my eye on for a while. My wife, Kate, even caught me trying to negotiate the price with the sales clerk at a couple of stores (I might have embarrassed her a bit)! One night a few weeks before our first Christmas together, she told me I could open one of my presents early. I opened it up, and it was my watch! She had stacked several coupons and managed to get it for the price I was trying to negotiate!” -Josh Dean, Connections Pastor  

“A Kindle Paperwhite is an awesome gift. I am reading now more than ever. Paired with a library card, I can have tons of ebooks for free! Board games like Settlers of Catan are also awesome gifts. We are able to have friends over to play for hours, and it’s nice to do something together that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a TV.” -Felix Rodriguez, Video Production Director



“My best friend is super good at giving gifts. Anytime someone says they like something she makes a note on her phone. Four years ago, she gave me a basket of things that I mentioned over the years, most of which I didn’t even remember. It was so fun!” -Rachel Hale, graceKIDS! Director, Orlando

“Would it be weird to say that the best gift I’ve received is one I got for my husband, Carter? I was trying to choose his interests over mine and got him tickets to see his favorite stand-up comedian. I ended up enjoying it so much and the best gift was hearing Carter laugh that hard. We were both sore afterwards. I love watching stand-up with him now.” -T Munroe, Communications Manager

“One year my husband gave me some ‘me’ time, away from everything. It allowed me to refocus and re-energize for the new year.” -Stephanie Ellison, graceKIDS! Director, Oviedo 

“I’m a quality time person, so I love my family getting together rather than something to open. But when it comes to gifts, I do love books, comfortable pjs, coffee, and anything that helps life to be more efficient.” -Kari Reith, Executive Assistant 



“Our most meaningful gift is theme park passes from my mom every year. We love them because it keeps giving to us all year, and gives us experiences and memories as a family instead of more ‘stuff.’” -Kelly Adkins, Communications Director

“When I was a teenager, one of the best gifts I received was a new wallet filled with multiple gift cards to my favorite stores and restaurants. Some of the best gifts my kids enjoy are experience gifts. Each year they get passes to the zoo from grandparents and a monthly craft box subscription from another set of grandparents.” -Mike Standish, graceSTUDENTS Pastor

“One year I made each of my kids a personalized storybook as a stocking-stuffer. I wrote and illustrated short chapter books for my older kids, and simple picture books for my preschoolers. They loved being the star of their very own story!” -Jeanne Harrison, Staff Writer

“If you want to gift a kids’ devotional, some of my top recommendations are Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones, Indescribable by Louie Giglio, Know God by Lauren Terrell, and Love Is, a devotional compiled by the Orange ministry.” -Rachel Hale, graceKIDS! Director

“Every year I give my family a signed 8×10 headshot of myself. I think they love it.” -Grant Nixon, Winter Garden Campus Pastor


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