Gift Giving Ideas for Christmas (or any occasion)

Heart pendant necklace from my boys Christmas 2009

Is shopping for loved ones simple or complicated?

It's Christmas time again. Before we know it, December 25th will be upon us. Finding yourself giddy with excitement or feeling a little "bah hum bug?" I hope the reader will find some of the ideas presented worth considering.

One thing to be mindful of, does the person you are wanting to present a gift to need another dust collecting knick knack, or anything which will take up significant amounts of space? I have nothing against collections. I myself have Breyer Horses, art, and more books than I have shelves for. However, there does come a time in a persons life where 'enough is enough' and the last thing needed is more clutter. Items which don't compete for much space or are useful, that's a different story. Let's explore some.

I think my sister is the only female I've ever known to not like jewelry. If there is a special lady in your life (whether a tween or teen girl, a wife or girlfriend, or a maternal type) one usually can't go wrong in picking out something sparkly. Even if the gift budget is modest, it is still possible to find something pretty. Christmas before last, my husband went shopping with my boys and they went to Kohls. With their own money they bought me a sterling silver necklace with a heart pendant and I think it cost them $20-$30. It's one of my favorite pieces....mainly because they gave it to me but also because I think it's really pretty (my photo doesn't do it justice but illustrates the point or idea).

It has been said, one way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Every year I end up buying mine all his favorite nuts, jerky's, candies etc. Trader Joe's is one of my favorite places to shop for fun and unique food fare.

For the sports enthusiast, there is team memorabilia which can make for the perfect gift. (This Christmas, my husband is pining for a Pittsburg Steelers hoodie....hope an insatiable monster was not created after last year, giving him a long sleeved Steelers t-shirt!). And if the guy actually participates in some type of outdoor activity, even small items associated with that will likely be appreciated (an example might be gloves or golf balls for the avid golfer).

Cash and gift cards are popular these days. This is easy and can't imagine anyone not appreciating them but on the flipside, they don't require a lot of thought. Personally, I think getting one of these as a gift ought to be a last resort. I'm confident I'm not the first to suggest an experience....Groupon.com is a great place to shop for experiences at bargain rates. We have the world at our fingertips via google etc., so even if we don't live close to our loved ones, based on knowing what their needs or interests are, we can usually find a merchant or provider of a specialized service in their area and purchase a gift certificate online. I'm in Washington and my step mom is in Calif. I know she loves getting manicures and pedicures. So I bought a gift certificate for that type of service for her at a place not far from where she lives and she was thrilled.

Ok, I know earlier I had a spiel about knick knacks and items which cause clutter......yet some handcrafted things are really precious. Knowing someone took the time and put their heart into making something special is priceless. I personally am not a crafty person but I will never forget the crocheted blanket my sister worked on for years and gave to me as a wedding gift. It was the only thing we received which made me cry (and we still have it). Guys, many of you know how to work with wood and metal so this idea is not only for lady - givers. As an example, how about an outdoor planter box for your lady who appreciates pretty plants and gardens?

A nice bottle of wine, homemade Kahlua, homemade baked goods (unless a person has received baked good from a dozen different people) are always well received. Perhaps a plant (poinsettas are popular at Christmas time and in Hawaii, they do not typically die after a few months....if living there, plant it in the ground and see if it thrives!)

I'm not going to say much about little kids since they typically are fun and easy to buy for. They tend to be easy to please, unless of course they already have every cool toy out there (this can be true for adults too... again, may want to consider an experience if this is the case! A Chucky Cheese day for the kid and a gift certificate which covers dining for at least two, for the adults favorite restaurant is just one suggetion). There are so many books out there and the younger a child starts to have an interest in books, the better in my opinion. Although I believe it's important to patronize our local merchants, if short on time and on a budget, amazon.com may be the place to shop.

May whatever the occasion is which leads one to give, may it be joyous and blessed!


Poinsetta
Poinsetta

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