Gift Giving Tips
One reason I believe that people of all walks of life enjoy the Christmas season is because of the gift-giving. I really don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate a good gift or even just being thought of in a way that manifests itself in the form of a gift. I love giving gifts, year-round, and I love this particular holiday. But one harsh reality to be faced is that Christmas is such a commercial holiday. Some where, some how the message got mixed up and people all over these parts of the U.S. will go to extremes to give gifts - even when their pocketbooks, checking accounts, and credit cards scream, "You have reached the limit." It is my belief that giving gifts is more about taking the time to show your appreciation for someone or fulfilling a need, rather than the price tag of the item. For that reason, let's begin to think of gift giving in a new light.
I encouraged my students to show their appreciation for their parents by making them something or doing something for them. Don't worry them about high-priced presents and such. I was going to do the same, I told them.
In this present economic crunch (which is probably an extreme understatement to say the least) one of my financial goals is to pay off the extra bills. That meant I was going to have to think creatively about giving gifts, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Here are some tips:
1. If you have a particular craft, share your love by making something for your loved ones (i.e. knit/crochet them a scarf, personalize ornaments [I've seen wonders worked with lightbulbs and felt! Kids can be creative.])
2. Make a collage of pictures of your friends or loved ones from different times in the year and give it to them. The memories will last forever and it gives you a time to reminisce about those days!
3. Scan old pictures from those photo albums your grandma won't let outside of her house. Surprise your parents with their grade school pictures.
4. Spend time with someone. Go for a walk with them or help them bake cookies. It doesn't matter what you're doing (just make it legal) as long as you're spending *quality* time with them.
5. Study the person you're giving a gift to. If you choose to spend some money, buy them something that goes to a specific interest of theirs. Even if it costs $2 but it's something they need or really like, they'll appreciate it. (For example, my aunt who is a seamstress noticed my interest in sewing and bought a few small items that people who sew ALWAYS need like needles, basic colors of thread, interfacing. Another example is this. Mom mom bought some blank sheet paper and guitar pics for my cousin who is fascinated with guitar. He really enjoyed that gift.)
6. Buy group gifts, don't personalize so much. So in essence, buy a present that the entire family can use or enjoy.
7. Do a gift swap. Draw names and buy only one present for the person's name you drew.
* Numbers 6 and 7 will work particularly well if you come from a big family such as I. My dad is one of 17 children, so you know I have hoards of cousins. And that's just my dad's side.
Seven represents completeness so I won't post any more tips.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Now I'm off to finish cooking these three heads of collards that were given to me for Christmas from a family from church. Now that was a good gift!
(BTW, that pocket book up there was made by my friend Mary from neck ties. How genius!)