Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Alternative holiday gift ideas

Last week, Krystle wrote about supporting local artisans by buying your Christmas/Hanukkah/ Kwanzaa/ New Year's gifts from them. I'd like to introduce three other options:

1. Make some gifts.
I know, I know. You might claim not to be "crafty." But that doesn't preclude you from making gifts, and perhaps saving a little dough in the meantime! Try baking an assortment of goodies (it's easier than you think), creating a photo collage or photo calendar for friends, family, or co-workers, or maybe giving "coupons" (massages, dinner, breakfast in bed, load of laundry, etc.). Or, perhaps you could do what my group of friends is doing this year - having a potluck to celebrate our friendship instead of giving gifts.

2. Buy some homemade gifts on Etsy.com.
If you'd like to give something with that homemade touch but really don't know where to turn, I highly recommend Etsy.com. Think boutique, or art gallery, only it's online, searchable, and you can request custom items from sellers! You're talking right to the people making the stuff. My favorites include some of the stained glass, baby hats, and vintage finds. Or, of course, the classic sock monkey or sock dog (cough, cough - shameless self promotion).

3. Donate in someone's name.
Sure, maybe this isn't original. But people are more in need than ever. Try giving a cow or a dozen chicks, volunteering for a day on behalf of someone, donating gifts to Toys for Tots, or donating money to your favorite non-profit. My brother once gave me a blank check for $50 that I could send to any non-profit of my choice (I chose Mercy Corps since it was right after the tsunami). He was in college at the time, so it represented no small sum of money. It meant a lot to me, and I'm sure the money made an impact.

So those are my ideas. I'm doing a lot of numbers one and two this year (aside from a few Amazon.com and clothing purchases), and some of number three. Please join me!

Related Posts: Buy local for the holidays; Tapas for Toys; A gift to remember; Conscious Giving; 'Tis the season to change the present; DesignGive - Creativity is a gift; 10,000 Reasons to Buy


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Lynette said...

Saw this cool gift idea - giving TIME by creating a group helping-hands calendar on VolunteerSpot. Cool for new moms, elderly neighbors, and teachers: