When you attend a Christian retreat, your main gift is to be away from your routine and pressures of home to focus on gaining insight, sharing ideas and reflecting. A true purpose of the retreat gift is to be a reminder of what you gained from that time of retreat and reflection. Having the perfect gift can make this a reality.
Time of Arrival
Upon arrival, a retreat gift idea would be a small tote bag with a schedule, small notebook to take notes, a pen, pack of gum or mints, a water bottle, granola bars or other healthy snacks, highlighter and name tag. Be sure to have magic markers handy for the guests to write their names on their bags.
If you want your guests to be separated into groups, having a different color bag for each group will be a good idea.
T-shirts are a longstanding tradition of retreats. They offer years of advertising for your retreats and encourage interest in other retreats you may host in the future.
Of all the items you can find at websites such as Cafepress.com, journals may be one of the best ideas for the retreat. You can have your retreat logo printed on the front and place it in participants' gift bag, put it on their bed the first night to encourage nightly journaling, or hand it out for a session where you talk about the benefits of journaling.
To Go Box
A personal favorite is the “to go” box to be given as your guests are leaving. This box can include things like a packet of tea, flavored coffee, hot cocoa or chai; a fortune cookie with a Bible verse inside; a footnotes sticky pad; a pen; a votive candle; and a small bottle of hand lotion. You can include an instruction card with the theme verse from the retreat on one side and these instructions on the other side: “Take a few moments each day to pamper yourself. Heat up some water and make your favorite hot drink. Grab your Bible, light the candle and use your fragrant lotion on your hands before you begin your prayer and devotion time. Use the pen, highlighter and footnotes to mark verses that have great meaning for you." All of these items can fit into a Chinese takeout box that you can find at craft stores and dollar stores. The gift recipient can use these boxes to store their items between uses to keep it well-organized.
Other Gift Ideas
Placing a chocolate or mint on the pillow is a time-honored tradition. Adding a laminated card with the retreat's main verse; a verse that describes welcome, blessings, relaxing in the Lord; a prayer the team has for each member of the retreat; or a saying that would leave the guest feeling appreciated and loved for attending this special time is a great way to say good night to each guest.
Several sites online have items that you can design with your own logos and sayings. You can purchase coffee cups, T-shirts, hats, journals, mouse pads, clocks and just about everything else you need from this site. Having a coffee cup with your logo, verse or retreat theme for each person is a wonderful way to send them off with lasting thoughts of the retreat.
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