The pressures of the holidays are numerous. Finding the perfect gift is only a small, but omnipresent, part (did you see what I did there?)!
It is important to consider the person that you are giving the gift to. What kind of person are they? Do they have any hobbies or passions? Don't go overboard with the themes, though! My poor dad got everything related to golf for the first 25 years of my life! Calenders, games, decor, you name it my sister and I gave him the golf versions! Also, sometimes people get pigeon holed, which can be frustrating or perplexing for them.
For example, when we got married in Mexico we brought back a mask for my grandfather-in-law which we understood that he collected. I'll never forget him unwrapping it and going "Ah, a mask! Some how I got a reputation for liking these and now I have a lot of them..." Needless to say that was the lat mask that we bought Pop-pop!
1.) Charitable Donation
This is a perfect gift for groups of people, especially adults. When I was in college I realized that my family (who has slight hoarding tendencies) didn't really need anything that I was going to buy them. Instead I donated to Heifer International and gave the cards. Please do not give this gift to children. They will not be able to appreciate it. This past mother's day my mother and mother-in-law got donations to International Rescue Committee to help refugees. The Humane Society is another good one. Do you know someone who loves animals? Donate to their local shelter. Don't do this if you know them well and they are at a point in their life where they need money. In that case, just give them a check.
Lets be honest, this is a little bit of a cop out. It is appropriate for bosses to give to their employees- but they need to be uniform! Same place and amount for everyone (coffee shops are usually a hit, try to source a local one!). If you know a kid that is saving up for something expensive- like a computer- you can contribute via gift card but make sure that everyone is getting it for the same place because $150 at Best Buy and $150 at Circuit City will not buy a $300 computer! Did I just date myself with the "Circuit City"? Do they still exist? The other exception to this is for hobbies or pets. I love gift cards to Petco so I can get my dogs special treats.
There are a lot of ways that you can accomplish this without breaking the bank. I mean, if you are in the position to buy someone you a love a vacation, go for it! Make sure it is somewhere they want to go though... Otherwise you can buy people tickets to a concert or art event/exhibit. Once again, take their personality into account- I do not enjoy live music, for example, but love museums. Buying a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant is also a nice way to provide them with an experience. I always have a fantasy that I will be gifted a clean house by someone paying for a cleaner to do a deep clean! Check out local classes too! I would love to take dance classes but my husband would probably be miserable! He might appreciate it if I took some singing lessons, though...
Generally, these are gifted to parents/grandparents and the subject is their child/grandchild or if the person is IN the picture. One year I gave everyone a picture of the whole family and a candid of my grandparents.
NOT a magazine subscription (do those still exist?). Last year we gave out some CauseBox subscriptions which is a quarterly box that "has a conscience". It was not inexpensive but we figured it sort of covered other gift-giving events too... (hey, it was a hectic year!). If you know someone who is busy but likes to cook, try a meal delivery service. We like Green Chef. There are all sorts of monthly boxes for everyone you know, flowers, makeup, whiskey, candy... Just Google it! There are some especially neat ones for kids! Lillypost sends different books each month (as you probably know, I am a book nerd!) which can be great for parents too to add some variety and excitement to nightly routines! Little Passports sends educational activities and honestly as an adult these still look fun! I have my fingers crossed for a BarkBox Super Chewer this year! (Looking for Teens? Here is a list with some great suggestions).
This is exactly what my husband and I get each other every year. Of course, we don't have kids but we are planning on keeping up the tradition when we do. The thing is, we don't need knick-knacks/chochkies/etc and it just becomes something I have to figure out what to do with. Now that we downsized from over 3,000 sq ft to less than 1,000 we don't have the space space for it all! Also, there is this: The Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving.
When it comes down to it: remember that the point of the holiday is cheer, love, & support. Celebrate that with your blood family, or your chosen family, not material goods. Let me know what your favorite gift to give or receive was!
Kelsey enjoys researching and discussing. These posts are based on her research and are open for discussion! Enjoy! (For the record the credit for the title goes to one of Kelsey's favorite authors: Douglas Adams).