Picking the Right Gifts

DATE: November 27, 2013

During this time last year, I was just getting rolling with this blog and I missed the opportunity to share my gift giving methods. When our Thanksgiving meal is packed away in our bellies, the family and I sit together and discuss plans for the next holiday on the calendar: Christmas. We talk about decorations, plans for meals and extended family and, of course, gifts.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know by now that my family tends to be experience and activity oriented, versus the pursuit of acquiring ‘things’. This is what informs my approach to gift-giving, not only for my own family but also friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. For example, every year I give my husband Spring Training tickets to both the Red Sox and the Twins (FYI- Spring Training tickets go on sale December 7th in case you are thinking about doing something like this for someone in your life). This is also a present for my son because he is the one who goes to most of the games with his dad. I might also get them each a new t-shirt or jersey that they can wear to the games. My husband always gets us gift cards to Sundial Resort’s restaurants, our favorite of all Sanibel Island hotels. My goal is to try to find gifts that correspond with the receiver’s lifestyle and hobbies.

This approach may seem completely obvious but every year gifts are given and received that never get used. If this happens in our household, we always try to find someone who would enjoy it or donate the present. To get a better understanding of what I’m talking about, let me give you some greatest hits over the past few years:

Workout Pants- (From my Best Friend to Me) Seriously, this was one of my favorite gifts that year. I had been wearing the same few pairs long past their expiration date but I just couldn’t bring myself to get a new pair. One of my girlfriends took the problem off of my hands and bought me FIVE different pairs that were both fashionable and functional for my workout routines. I told her it was a little over the top and she responded, jokingly, “It’s a present for me too! I’m tired of going to the gym with you and listening to you gripe about needing new gear and refusing to do anything about it to the point that you were starting to look like the only homeless person with a gym membership.” This response of course only made the present better.

Park Pass & Camera- (From my Husband and I to our Daughter) Christmas of 2010, we decided to get Annual Passes to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge for the whole family. My daughter developed a habit of photographing a lot of the animals and scenery using just a basic point-and-shoot digital camera. After two years of watching her develop her photography skills, my husband and I consulted with a few of the nature photographers who frequent the park and got advice on the best camera for a beginner. Christmas morning that year, our daughter found her camera under the tree and has been using it nonstop ever since.

Custom Art Book– (From our Babysitter to my Husband and I) A few years back we had a wonderful babysitter that came a few times a week to help out with the kids. She was studying art and always brought her supplies to the house so the kids could do art with her. Over the course of a year, she collected and copied every one of the art projects the kids did, even photographing sculptures and other 3-D crafts. Come Christmas, she presented my husband and I with a book for each of our children. The covers of the book were portraits she had painted of them. It was one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. Sadly, our babysitter transferred to a different school and she moved away shortly after that Christmas.

            I hope that all of you can get inspired by these ideas and gifts and create a unique holiday experience for your loved ones.

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