The annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy kicked off the start to holiday gift-giving. Whether you were part of the massive crowds and lines at your favorite stores or searched tirelessly online for the best deals, you may have asked yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
Giving a gift should feel as good to the giver as to the recipient. It’s not (or shouldn’t be) about the price tag. Remember what Dr. Seuss wrote in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”:
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
For a very special gift, you can give your time, money, or your skills where they are needed and appreciated. You’ll reap the rewards of extreme satisfaction, which you can share with those who simply don’t need another item in their home.
Here are some ways to give a heartfelt gift without shopping for them.
- Donate to a charity. Give to a non-profit organization in honor of someone special. If you’re trying to find something for an animal lover, for example, make a contribution to a local animal shelter in his or her name. Maybe a close friend lost a family member to cancer, heart disease, or other condition. Make your donation to the charity that is trying to find a cure.
- Volunteer with a friend. Do you have someone with whom you annually exchange gifts? Suggest that, instead of swapping, you volunteer together. For example, bake cookies to bring to a senior center, help out at a local mission, collect toys to donate to a women’s shelter, or gather non-perishable items for the local food bank. You can also contact a church to get the wish list of a family in need of some holiday cheer through some truly appreciated gifts.
- Turn your gift into an activity. Plan an activity to do together after the holidays. From a spa day to a day trip, or even something adventurous, like indoor skydiving, you can find countless ways to turn your gift into a lasting impression. Check sites like Groupon for special offers and ideas.
- Swap, don’t shop. Talk to the people on your gift list and suggest a “white elephant” approach to the annual swap. People often have items to “re-gift”—a book, DVD, clothing, kitchen items, picture frames, and decorative accents for the home. Instead of shopping from home, shop your
- Make it yourself. What are your unique skills? Cooking, baking, woodworking, art, music, writing, crafts? Give someone the benefit of your talents by making a gift or offering a lesson.
This holiday season is traditionally a time of giving, but what and how you give a gift is entirely up to you, the giver!