Gift-giving is a custom many cultures have in common. Giving is a universal language that communicates love, grace, and gratitude. Whether you are the one giving or receiving, gift-giving invites into vulnerability and humility, into openness and acceptance of what you have to offer and what others have to offer you.

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At IDEAS we focus on restoring hope to forgotten and overlooked communities. This year during Advent, I’ve been reminded that restoring hope often begins with simply being present.

As we enter the Christmas season, I wanted to look beyond our celebration here in the United States. So, I asked some of our IDEAS Associates how their view of Christmas has changed by living overseas.