This post was inspired by the many gift guides that are coming out right now…I wanted to provide some alternatives for those who, like me, are frustrated with the shopping train that tries to carry us away from the true meaning of Christmas. This thankful Thanksgiving Day seemed the perfect day to think about giving from the heart…before the chaos of Black Friday begins!
Not only do I struggle with what to get for that friend or family member who “has everything”- but if I do come up with a lovely alternative gift, how do I present that to my recipient so they receive it and really feel the love with which I am giving it? I’ve jotted down a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing…feel free to pin this to share with more folks who wrestle the “shopping mania” each year!
By the way, no affiliate links are included here…just affiliate yourself with the true spirit of giving, then my work here is done! Ideas below include ways to wrap them so they feel like more than a gift card or a printout of an email….go add your own spin to any one of these!
- Give books. What better gift than an adventure in reading! It’s great if you know the person’s taste, or you know of a book they haven’t read. But what if you don’t? You can give a gift card to their favorite book store (local is always the best!)….rather than just tossing it in a gift bag, buy an inexpensive used book by an author with their first or last name….or a title that makes you think of them, or will make the person smile. I found one last year that was an old library book that cost only $1.00 – and it had a pocket in it to tuck in the gift card!
- Gifts to charity. This Tuesday will be #givingtuesday, so I’ll have a post with some great ideas for those who want to give creatively in honor of their loved one – and fun ways to package them – but I wanted to include the idea so you can put a little * by those on your list who this idea will be perfect for! Pictured above is a goat you can send to a child in need somewhere in the world, and get a gift card you can send to your gift recipient.
- Give experiences. Give the gift of a cultural experience they won’t forget – theater tickets, ballets, and concerts! If you google for local theaters in the town your recipient lives in, you can find many inexpensive performances to buy tickets for; and who knows, you may get them ‘hooked’ on community theater! Include the tickets or computer printout inside a handbag (like my sister did for me last year!), old gloves, or wallet from a thrift shop….a little ‘faux’ accessory to help them think about dressing up for a cultural outing.
- Give a helping hand. Give the gift of time – your time. Make a commitment to help your gift recipient with gardening, housework, watching kids, or some other helpful task! For a gardener, purchase new gloves or a garden tool with a note about helping with spring planting for a couple weekend afternoons, or building a compost bin together. Busy moms would love to receive a “day off” promise – when a friend of mine had small kids, each December I took them for a day of shopping and cookie-baking so their mother could spend a day on her own holiday tasks she just couldn’t get to otherwise. Think creatively about what your gift recipient needs help with!
- Give creativity. Most of my readers are creatives of one sort or another – so share that gift with your family and friends! It can be as simple as a couple nice coloring books and a few pencils – but be sure to add on a “date” to share a day of creativity with them, too! Consider something you always wanted to try too – wrap up an art apron and sign you and your friend up for a ceramics class!
- Give adventure. Take the family on a crazy adventure! Wrap up a map, and play “pin the tail on the state” to have your children help choose that year’s vacation location! Or if you’ve already got an idea where to go, wrap up travel brochures from that location along with some cozy hiking socks, or fun shoelaces. The expense of the gift is left for later in the year when it’s easier to handle – but the thrill and excitement of getting ready begins at Christmas!
- Give handmade. Never underestimate the power of a gift you make yourself. Something as simple as a bookmark will remind them all year how much you care. String up a beaded necklace in their favorite colors. Create a minialbum themed with that person’s vacation location from this year. Crochet a blanket to perfectly match their sofa!
Whatever you give, include a letter with what inspired you to give it – what you know about them that made you choose it, and how you feel about them too. That letter will be a gift in its own right! We can never share too often how we feel about those we love; you never know how long we’ll be here on earth together!
And while you may be going out to snag some Black Friday deals….try saving a few special items like the ones listed above, and shop on Small Business Saturday to support your local mom and pop shops with some of your dollars too. Let’s keep them in business! 🙂