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Think Outside The Gift Box This Christmas

The season for gift giving has arrived, reminding us there are two types of gift givers in this world. There are those who are excited to find just the right gifts for everyone on their list and those who dread the annual quest to figure what in the world to buy the people in their lives.  It feels like most Americans have an abundance of stuff and it’s increasingly harder to give good gifts.

If this describes your current circumstances, we have some thoughts on gifts that aren’t things.

Tickets – Give your loved ones something to look forward to like tickets to a concert, a favorite sporting event or for a night at the movies. Who doesn’t like to be entertained?

Memberships – How about a membership to a place you know they love? That list might include a museum, art gallery, theme park, zoo, gym or arcade. A national park pass could inspire a vacation and a roadside service membership could help in their travels too.

Classes – Does your loved one want to take up a new hobby?  Lessons for photography, cooking, knitting, yoga, singing and cocktail mixology can be commonly found. They will think of you every time they sit down to work on their hobby!

Experiences – Send them on an adventure! Kayaking, a ghost tour, mini golf, horseback riding and bowling are just a few of the things you could do with them or give a gift certificate so they can take someone else!

Your Time – Speaking of spending time with your loved ones, there are a number of things you can offer that focus on time spent together. Invite them out for lunch or for donuts and coffee. If your budget is small, offer to help them with a big household project like cleaning out the basement or cooking some freezer meals. If they’re busy, they might appreciate Saturday night babysitting services or your offer to shovel snow. If they live alone, a chat over coffee at home may be just what Santa ordered. Some of the best gifts in life really are free.

Someone Else’s Time – Support a local entrepreneur and give the gift of professional services at the same time! This might include house cleaning services, car washing and detailing, yard work, a personal chef for the day, trainer, power washing for the home, portrait photographer or a manicure.

Subscriptions – With so much being online based, there’s an endless variety of options like streaming services, software updates or app subscriptions. If they like things that are tangible, find something that suits their personality like a seed club, book club or monthly food delivery service.

Gift Cards –While gift cards may seem impersonal, they are popular for a reason. If someone is particular about what they own, they might enjoy a small shopping spree in their favorite store. If they are on-the-go a lot, a fast food gift card is extremely practical. If money is tight, they might love a grocery store gift card or one for a service they normally can’t afford.

Items That Are Useful – Never discount the value of an item they can use. Family oriented games and puzzles will bring people together. A new tool for a woodworker might help them learn a new skill.  An older person could really appreciate help from an electric jar opener. A college kid would love a laundry basket full of snacks and personal hygiene products.

Remember that a good gift needn’t come wrapped in a box. What will you give this year that’s a little different?

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