Putting it together: ESV bibles and candy canes

December 7, 2009 – Now that Christmas is almost here, it’s time for me to prepare my bible gift bags so I can leave them at my neighbors’ doors (see previous post). The bag is a “door hanger” and will include a festive New Testament, a gospel tract, an invitation to my church’s Christmas services, and a coupon for a free trial access to the ESV Online Study Bible.

One thing I am concerned about is, when people see the bags hanging on their doorknobs, I don’t want them to think it’s a throw-away advertisement. I need a way to customize the outside of the bag so it’s more personal and invites the recipient to actually look inside.

My solution? Candy canes. Attached to each bag will be a bright piece of candy to give it a festive personal touch.

I found a great deal at CVS yesterday: 52 candy canes for only $3.99. That’s less than 8¢ per candy cane! The only other expense I’ll have is the cost of printing the Christmas service invitations, and I don’t think that’ll cost much either. With the price of the 50 bible kits at $58 (including shipping), I expect to spend less than $70 on this project, or $1.40 per gift.

Since I won’t have access to the inside of many of my neighbors’ apartment buildings, I may have to attach the bags to their mailboxes in the public area. So again, I think having the candy canes on the outside of the bags will make it clear that these are gifts from an actual person, not a business promotion.

I thought about including a short history of the candy cane as well, but I did some research and discovered most of the claims of their historical religious imagery (red stripes, secret codes for persecuted Christians, a candy maker from Indiana) are urban myths. I don’t want to distract from the historical truth of Christ’s birth with meaningless legends – I just want to find a way to make sure people open their bags!

Another idea I had, if I have time, is to buy or create bookmarks and insert them at Luke 2 (between pp. 46-47). This is where Luke begins his account of Jesus’ birth. If I don’t have time, I may use the Max Lucado gospel tracts or the study bible coupons as bookmarks.

What are your plans for your bible gift bags? Leave a comment below.

– p.k.