Hi there! In anticipation of Black Friday tomorrow, I’m taking fifteen minutes to share some gift-giving strategies that will help you avoid the chaos that is the mall. Here are ten tips:
Build a library—No matter what their age, consider giving kids your favorite books from childhood.
For younger kids, the beautifully illustrated Caldecott medal winners are always a good choice—avoid bland books that feel more like flash cards than stories. Parents will thank you for helping them avoid reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the 347th time.
Create an experience—Buy an admission to a water park or play area (and join them in the experience, too!). One of my friends took her tween niece and nephew geocacheing, which was a huge hit. For a bigger gift, buy a family membership to the zoo or children’s museum, which they can enjoy all year.
Connect to their interests—For teens, special interest magazines are a great choice (teen magazines focusing on sports and art), as are sports equipment, sleeping bags for camping and sleepovers, summer events such as a music day camp, adventures like horseback riding, and age-appropriate event tickets.
Think local—support a local restaurant by giving a gift certificate or choose a gift from a local boutique. Tickets to an event (“Taste of ___” or a music festival) or a subscription to a performing arts group are also great choices. If the adults have kids, offer to babysit so they can go out and enjoy their gift!
Think consumable—whether you offer homemade goodies, gourmet ingredients, local wine or spirits, adults can appreciate an indulgence that won’t end up in a landfill or donate-to-charity pile. I love giving Penzey’s spices to help friends replace old and dusty spices lingering in their cabinets. Penzey’s cinnamon alone will blow your mind.
Think charitable—consider what matters to the recipient, and choose a charitable gift that supports the cause they’re passionate about. This might spawn a more charitably minded family tradition.
Wrap smart—Sometimes a card can get separated from a gift, and the happy couple will feel quite embarrassed about sending a broadcast message to their wedding guests asking, “Hey, who gave us this toaster?” Avoid any confusion by sticking the card inside the gift box (or taping it to the gift box) before wrapping with paper.
Celebrate the future—Consider giving the couple something they can enjoy for the long-term, such as bottles of wine to be cellared until their first, fifth or tenth anniversaries.
Send it—Don’t bring your gift directly to the wedding or reception site because it can be a huge task to gather and transport these gifts home. Instead, send it to the couple’s address before or after the wedding (but not immediately after the wedding, as they might be away on their honeymoon and can’t collect a package from the front porch).
Finally, for your spouse or significant other, I think the best gifts are those that create more time and memories together. Buying a limo tour for wine tasting, a weekend stay at a cozy, romantic hotel or a class you can take together creates memories that will last far longer than this coming holiday season.
So, enjoy each other and celebrate the best thing about the holidays—special time with friends and family.