Before the tree, before the cake, comes A Gift of Christmas

At a time when many homes may be feeling the pinch, theMethodist Church is asking people to share the spirit of Christmasin their communities by giving away A Gift of Christmas, the latestbooklet in their popular series.

For the first time ever the Church has also made available a freeebook for people to preview the printed version, or just to usethemselves. The 2011 edition of A Gift of Christmas is the thirdwith a festive theme, following Christmas In Your Pocket in 2009and the first A Gift of Christmas in 2010.

The new A Gift of Christmas celebrates the nativity story withverses from the new Methodist hymn collection, Singing The Faith,along with Bible passages and stunning images. People will findquotes from the likes of Edward Caswall and John Bell in this newversion of the booklet.

Ruth Pickles, Vice President of the Methodist Conference, said: "AGift of Christmas is an exceptional gift. This pocket-sized bookletcontains enough good news to bring joy to anyone who receives it.Slip one into any other gift you may be giving, or through yourneighbour's door. In beautiful illustrations and familiar words, ittells the story of a baby born in Bethlehem - born to be oursaviour."

The ebookedition is available in the epub format that can be used onmany ebook readers. Dave Webster, Internet CommunicationsCoordinator, said: "Ebooks have really taken off this year. We hopethat the A Gift of Christmas ebook will show people how stunningthe printed copy is and help them in their personal devotion atthis special time of year. The booklet is a great way to share themeaning of the Christmas story with friends and neighbours, and theebook version offers another way to do this."

A Gift of Christmas is designed for churches and individuals togive away and is also ideal for small-group and personalreflection. More than 100,000 copies of the second edition of thebook were sold last year.

It can be purchased from www.methodistpublishing.org.ukat the price of £5 for 50 copies plus postage and packaging. A freePowerPoint presentation of the booklet is also available todownload.