Ideas for Holiday Gifts with a Purpose

Dec 2, 2014 4:21:00 PM Michelle Monette Gifts

Depositphotos_55916107_xsFinding the right holiday gifts for friends, family, co-workers and clients can be one of the biggest stresses this time of year. That’s especially true when you’re buying for someone who already has everything, or someone you don’t know well. Not to mention, most of us have more gadgets and trinkets than we know what to do with.  Surely there’s a way to show your appreciation for people on your holiday list in a more meaningful way. 

For years, I had a hard time picking out gifts for my father and stepmother. If they wanted something, they bought it. They lived comfortably and had all the “stuff” they needed. A number of years ago, they announced that, instead of Christmas gifts for themselves, they would like us to give gifts to children in need.  My daughter and I had a blast that year, picking out clothes and toys for two children, taking pictures, and sending a card to my parents describing what we had done, thanks to their generosity. It’s a tradition we’ve continued every year since, and it always brings great joy to me, my parents, and hopefully a couple of children in our community. It’s a win-win-win situation.

If you’re looking for something more meaningful than a scarf or picture frame for someone on your gift list this year, the possibilities are endless.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. “Adopt” a child or adult in need.   You can usually find people through the Salvation Army and other charity organizations.  My health club puts up a tree every year decorated with dozens of coded gift tags with the ages, sizes and gift wishes of children and adults in our area.  Or you can donate a toy to Toys for Tots or a similar program.
  1. Buy tickets for you and your friends or family members to attend a holiday charity event.  There are lots of concerts and shows dedicated to raising money for a good cause.  If your holidays are just too hectic, you can give tickets for an event in January or February.
  1. Make a donation to your local food bank or other charity on behalf of your giftee, and send them a card describing the donation.
  1. Give a meaningful book. You can find several great book selections on this blog.
  1. Consider giving a gift certificate for feel-good class or seminar.  There are tons of possibilities – art classes, yoga classes, or an Education for Living seminar, to name a few. 

Any of these gifts will make you and your gift recipient feel good.  Much better than a box of chocolate pretzels. 

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