We are trying to keep Christmas under control this year in the gift department. With my family, this is important as we have had a lot of unexpected things happen that have resulted in people not having the finances they did just a month ago. This means getting creative in the presents department.
I try not to just buy stuff if I can as the neat candle sticks don’t quite have the meaning as something from the heart. Each year, for example, I create a photo album of pictures for the grandparents and great grandmother. It’s fun to go through all of the pictures, and I upload them to the service which prints and binds them in a very nice manner. If you do this, might I suggest buying an extra copy for yourself. I always forget to do this, then get upset because I never have any hard copies of the pictures I’ve taken.
Another idea for this time of the year, make a donation in the name of the family member. This is great for the aunts and uncles. One year, we did that for the adults on the Hubby’s side of the family. It was fun matching the charity with the family member. For his great uncle who used to do a lot of volunteer work as a doctor, we made a donation to Doctors Without Borders. For his aunt who does animal rescue in her spare time as prosecutor, we donated to one of the animal rescue organizations. Habitat for Humanity is always a good one. Or, you can go to Heifer International and buy animals like chicks or bees or cows that are then given to a community.
Once upon a time, savings bonds were really popular. If you’d like to do something in that spirit, but with more of a giving twist, I might suggest giving someone a gift certificate on KIVA.org. KIVA is an organization that allows you to loan money to prequalified individuals in other countries. They pay you back over a set period of time. I am a HUGE lover of this concept. Heck, the concept resulted in a Nobel Peace Prize for one of the economists the created it. I like the connection you can have in helping people build their businesses. And, once paid back, you can either reloan the money or cash it out.
Another idea is to give your relatives a “bread of the month” club or something of the like. It is really easy to do, and I’m not talking about buying them a subscription, but you doing it for them. Let me explain what we did one year. We gave a loaf of bread and a letter to each person who got this gift. The bread represented their first installment of the 12 month commitment, by us, to send them a loaf of bread each month. It was fun for us because we got to try different kinds of bread recipes. And, it was fun for them to receive them each month. You could do this with bread, cookies, desserts in general, whatever you have the hankering to commit to. And, it might be fun to do this for maybe an elderly neighbor.
And, for teachers, let me suggest food. Why? Because teachers get TONS of coffee cups and other traditional “teacher gifts”. Stand out. Give them a tin of homemade cookies or bread. Give them coffee (just skip the cup). I will let the Hubby talk more about this on his blog, if he hasn’t already. But, from the wife perspective, stick with food.
So, there you go, my quick list of ideas. Now, I’m off to do some of them. Did you know Christmas is in 13 days. YIKES!