Explorations in Food, Fitness and Fun

10 Alternative Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

10 Alternative Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

Does your house have more stuff than you can fit? Does holiday gift-giving sometimes seem more like an obligation rather than a gesture of gratitude?  This holiday season, why not get your loved one something a little different, while still putting a small on his or her face?  

holiday, Christmas, Macy's, Black Friday, Department store, shopping

We compiled a list of 10 alternatives to traditional gift giving. We get something from Amazon almost every week.  If we can buy it so cheaply and easily on our own, why wait until Christmas to have someone else buy these things for us?  Especially since they may not know exactly what we want.

So, rather than Fingerlings, Hatchimals or LOL Surprise, why not do something from the heart?  It will last much longer than a plastic toy (unless it’s perishable) and the intention will go much further.  So, check out the list and see if any of them sounds like they would be your speed.

  1. Offering time or skills – Can you play the piano?  How about the guitar?  Did you take AP calculus?  If you have a skill or talent that you can share with others, why not offer that as a gift to friends or family?  Maybe your niece or cousin needs help in biology or maybe you can give your friend flute lessons?  If you can babysit and have friends with small kids, these friends would probably like a night out.  Just get a card with the offer, and your friends will love you. 
  2. Regift – I don’t know about you, but I have received gifts in the past which were nice, but I now have no use for them.  Rather than return or dispose of them, why not give them a new home by giving them as a Christmas or holiday gift.
  3. Knit something – While I personally do not have this talent, I have received hand-knitted hats and sweaters in the past.  I still wear them today.  Not only are they useful, but you know the gift-giver put a lot of time and energy into trying to make you happy this holiday season.

    knit, cartoon, yarn, ball, smiling
  4. Give an experience – This is what we like to do as a couple, as seen on our Fun page. We have pretty much everything that we need and we do not like to pile up a bunch of stuff.  So, in the past, we have decided not to get each other gifts, and decided on going on a trip later in the year.  Alternatively, many people visit a fun spot like Disney, a ski resort or tropical island as a mutual gift.
  5. Yankee swap – In some parts of the country, it is called a White Elephant. There are variations but within a group, each person buys one gift, and everyone takes turns picking the gift.  It’s a fun and lively way to kill 30 or 45 minutes, especially with some egg nog.  Granted, you still need to buy or make a gift, but you only need one, and there is often a price limit established with the Yankee swap rules.  If you have a big family with a dozen people, it is a fun way to have a holiday get-together without having to buy 12 gifts.
  6. Give art – If you have a talent like being able to paint, the ability to write or record music or the knack for creating beautiful photography,  why not put those skills to good use by giving them as a gift for Christmas?  We like paintings of scenic landscapes with happy little trees to hang on our walls.  Maybe your creativity could be someone’s next favorite gift!

    Paint, colors, foam brush, green, orange, red, blue, purple
  7. Gingerbread house making – Along the lines of giving experiences, why not enjoy the season by making gingerbread houses with friends and loved ones?  You just provide the gingerbread, icing and decorations along with some snacks and wassail (or beverage of your choosing), and you will have a gay old time.
  8. Volunteering – You can donate your time this holiday season (or any time) to helping feed people at soup kitchen.  Alternatively, other locations where you can spend time helping are Habitat for Humanity or animal shelters.  There are many others out there, but be careful of scammers out there looking to take advantage of your good intentions.
  9. Bake – It is a skill.  Some people have it, and some people do not.  If you got it, share it!  People like good food.  They eat three times a day (plus snack time) and like things that are delicious.  Your pecan pie, snickerdoodle cookies or chocolate Swiss roll or cream pie may very well put smiles on people’s faces.  They can be healthy food items as well, as seen on our Food page.

    chocolate, cookie, pastry, heart, powdered sugar, sifter, wood
  10. Photos – People take so many pictures.  With your Android or iPhone, it is almost too easy.  Plus, if you have a selfie stick, then I am sure you can share some quality close-ups.  We like to compile pictures to make something that relatives and friends can share year round, like a calendar.  Cousin Mikey as January, Barb and Bill as a the cute couple in February, little Gavin born in March, and so forth.  Often, people also can make a keychain or picture frame, with pre-loaded digital pictures changing every 30 seconds or so.

There could be other fun ideas for gifts, but these are some of the ones that seem more doable and that we have experience with.  Christmas and the holiday season are supposed to be fun and gifts are meant to express your appreciation for those close to you in your life.  Rather than helping Walmart’s bottom line, and causing yourself more stress by visiting them on a Saturday in December, try something different.  Good luck, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Christmas, ornaments, decorations, joy, holidays

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