Christmas Gifts from the heart
Does this sound familiar?
"I still have to get something for little Susie and Uncle Max and Aunt Gertrude. I need to figure out what to get for Bobbie and I need to get a little something for Jerry's dog (he'll have a fit if I don't include the dog). I need to get ____, and ____, and ____, and there are only two days left before Christmas and nothing left in my checking account. What do I do?"
It's the same every year....
I don't know if you have experienced this, but every year I seem to go through the same thing over and over again: what to get for everyone on my list. Do I try to get them something they want, or something they need, or something I think they might like? Do I try to match their bedroom color scheme (even if I have never been in their bedroom)? Do I try to include all of the 'extras' that could be used with my gift? Do I....do I....do I? Ohhhh, I'm worn out just thinking about it. Especially every time I look at my resources and realize I am broke and didn't get for everyone yet. What now?
Is this where you find yourself every year?
What can you do???????
Well, for one, let's stop and think for a moment. I know the economy is really bad right now, at least where I live, but even if it wasn't, gift giving has become a monumental task with or without money. I have thought about the big ticket items like new gaming systems or laptop computers, but let's face it, I can't afford that, and you probably can't either. I thought about some of the smaller things, like cell phones and hand-held gaming systems, but same thing. And besides, most of the people I know already have those things, and you are probably in the same boat. So, what can you do? How can you choose, and afford, a gift that they will love, enjoy, and USE?
Ask for a list
I'll bet you're thinking the same thing right now aren't you? Tried it all and don't know what to do next. One idea might be to ask the person to make a list of things they would like to get that is within your budget. Might not be much of a surprise, but at least they and your wallet will like it. Just a thought.
I thought about gift cards and actually used them a couple of times. However, I find that often the person receiving them puts them away in a 'safe' place, and forgets they have them. Years later they may find them and by then the store or restaurant might be closed. That's not to say that none of the cards I gave as gifts were used, but you can just see the look of disappointment on the face of the recipient who now must go buy their own gift after the Holidays. They don't have anything to 'play' with on Christmas.
I thought about, and purchased, small items that I knew they could use, ie: stockings, scarf, hat, gloves, boots, etc. I find that these types of gifts, while practical, don't offer any kind of excitement for the recipient. It's usually something like "oh, a scarf, thanks" and the item is stuffed in a bag or used to protect a glass knick knack with which they also were not impressed.
Then I began to think about what they would want that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg that I simply didn't have. Food is always a good thing, but during the Holidays there are so many different desserts and unusual dishes that food isn't, well, unique. I racked my brain for years (I won't discuss how many) pondering the concept and trying new and different ideas. I have discovered that there is no one do all thing that will make everyone happy. ***sigh***
So if there isn't one do all and be all gift that I can give year after year to people, then what do I do to make everyone's Christmas a happy one? Well, the first step is to think. If you want to give a gift that will be cherished and loved and used, you must think about the receiver of the gift.
- Think of their likes and dislikes.
- Think of the type of coat they wear.
- Think of their favorite colors (usually the majority of the clothes they wear will reflect that).
- Think of activities that they like to do.
- Think of the vehicle they drive.
- Think of the bike they ride.
- Think of the things they are always talking about: hiking, biking, skiing, reading, sports, TV shows, gaming systems, etc.
- Think about the person themselves.
Things you could give if you can't think of something personal
- Gas card
- Restaurant certificate
- Gift card
- Homemade gift of yours
- Something from a craft fair
- Movie certificate
- Framed photo you took
- Kitten (they might like it)
- Puppy (Do they like dogs)
- If all else fails, cash
What if you don't know them?
Now I know this isn't always the easiest thing to do because you might be buying something during a gift exchange at work or buying for a brand new fiancé of a best friend. These are the most difficult, I think, but there is a solution for that as well.
- For the person you don't know, try to think of what you would enjoy from someone you didn't know (let's get serious here, folks, I know what you were thinking--shame, oh, sorry, just thought I would add a bit of humor); anyway, would you like flowers, candy, a new popular book, or a warm fuzzy stuffed animal to hug at night? Do you know if they like coffee, or cocoa, or milk. Are they a drinker of wine? Are they an animal lover? You get the idea.....
- For a fiancé, think about the person they are going to marry; think about what you do know about them like the style of their clothing; think about what the engaged person says about them; think about what would make you feel welcome in a new family. I think you can get the idea here as well.....
Gifts from the heart
I have made it sound difficult, I know, but the truth is, once you have thought a bit about the person you are buying a gift for, then you can go out and find something that they will like. Or, perhaps you can make something that you know they will like. The thinking is the hardest part. I have listed some ideas below that I hope will help you in your endeavors to think about what to get for a 'Gift from the Heart'.
- Does the person like to read? Why not get them a subscription for their favorite magazine and give them the latest edition off the shelf to unwrap along with a card announcing the subscription.
- Does the person like sports? Why not get them tickets to one of their favorite events? You can purchase a racing guide or baseball schedule so they can look up the schedules and decide which one they want to attend (local games are usually cheaper).
- Does the person like to wear a lot of jewelry? You could purchase them gift sets of jewelry similar to what you have seen them wear (stick with necklaces and bracelets unless you know they have pierced ears-then you can get earrings as well, but avoid rings unless you are certain of their size).
- Does the person talk about a certain game or game system? You could purchase them a gaming magazine that discusses all of the latest games or tips on how to play a game they already have.
- Is the person crafty (as in 'do they like to make things' not 'are they a go behind the back kind of person')? You could purchase them a craft kit for them to make--jewelry kit, ceramic paint kit, paint by number, yarn and crochet needle, etc.
- Is the person a fan of a particular character? You could purchase them items with the character displayed--or something with their favorite team logo such as a hat or coffee mug.
The possibilities are endless and the gifts will be the most unique. A unique gift ususally makes an impression. Happily, a unique gift usually makes a smile.
Christmas Time--just a quick idea for you.
Christmas brings out the best in you.
So many lights of red, green and blue.
The wreath on the door, the star on the tree.
A time of loving hope for all to see.
Christmas Time, Christmas Time
You are always here for too short a time.
by Cheryl Simonds
So now you have thought about all the people you need to get for and you have made a list and jotted down things you know they will like because of their likes and dislikes, now what? Well, most people would go out and spend money they don't have to get the people something that they will sing praises about for years, right? Not in this economy!
Instead, try thinking about the simpler things. Make it or choose several smaller things, or just write something for them. That's right, I said write something for them. This is sometimes the very best thing you can do. write a short poem for them (like I did to the right), or a few lines about how you feel about them. Make them a card, or buy one and use a sticker to put in your own sentiment. Sometimes they just need to hear (or in this case read) it in your own words.
Alright, now for a toughy:
Do you believe in Santa?
Christmas made a bit easier.....
Christmas is sometimes a difficult time because we are trying so hard to stay in the spirit of the season while dealing with ''what to get for who' questions. Even Santa is rushed at this time of the year, (sorry but I had to include him in Christmas). So, a little advance time on your part can mean all the differences in the world. Give each gift a little bit of thought before you buy it (or create it) and you will see the difference as soon as they open it. Also, be sure to start your list early in the year so you have plenty of time.
I know that sometimes the people we buy for don't give us anything that they have put much thought into. In some cases I have known people who run out on Christmas Eve and get boxes of hot cocoa and a mug for everyone. I have known people who stop in the twenty-four hour store and buy a bunch of gift cards that they arbitrarily hand out for Christmas. I have known people who have purchased items in bulk packages and break them up to hand them out (ie: a box of coffee samples that someone breaks up and gives one to each person on their list--or a bunch of plastic army men that they separate and tuck into Christmas cards for the kids presents). Yes, these people are, to say the least, thoughtless, or at least clueless as to what Christmas means (let's be generous here-they may not know what they should get). But that doesn't mean we have to be the same. By taking a moment to think about what they might want, maybe, maybe, maybe they will take an extra moment next year and get you something special. No??? Well, it is the thought that counts, right?
Is Christmas about the gifts?
I always thought it was the thought that counted, but I could be wrong. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, what to do.......
Maybe take time to care, take time to love, take time to think and 'Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, an enjoyable Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year, everyone!' Oh, and remember to take time, every now and then, to enjoy the holiday for which you have worked so hard.
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© 2011 Cheryl Simonds