Gift Giving from the Heart


The holidays are here again!

In today’s economy, gift giving becomes increasingly challenging. Here are some ideas for gifts this year that won’t break the bank (or credit cards). And they will offer you the added benefit of giving from the heart – which is what these holidays should be all about!

  • Consider their favorite hobbies and passions. For that person who loves to paint, perhaps a decorative mug of paintbrushes would be just the thing. For the gardening enthusiast, a basket of seed packs or colorful garden tools might be just the ticket. You don’t have to break the bank for these types of gifts, and the person you bless them with will be honored that you took the time to really think about what means the most to them.

  • Think about using a themed gift – one year my son and his wife gave me a couple of DVD’s with a bottle of wine and bags of popcorn for a ‘night in’ with my husband. We just loved it! Now, every year they come up with some new ‘theme’ for us. Try a gift box that centers around a person’s hobby or pastime. Change it up every year and think up a new theme for the year!

  • Another of my favorite gifts came from my other son and his wife. He loves to build things and I’d just moved in a new house. He made us a birdhouse and his wife painted it – it is beautiful and still sits on my front porch! And the little hummingbirds go in it!

  • Try giving from the heart on these days – give memories. Make a collage of photos for your mom in a pretty frame or a coupon book for dad that he can use to get his car washed or his office cleaned out. Make dad a dish of homemade cookies or give mom a day off in the kitchen by cooking her favorite meal.

  • One year I gave my son’s their family history for Christmas. I printed out their family tree and found frames at a thrift store. I have a feeling this gift is on their list of favorite gifts!

  • Speaking of picture frames, you can find some incredibly beautiful frames at thrift stores for under $5….really BIG frames too! Take them home, clean them up, paint them, decorate them, and give them to family members for a gift (with or without a picture).

  • Consider giving the young teens in your life a letter from the heart or a booklet of advice for surviving that first month of college or their high school years. (Karenzo Media can help you put this together for under $25!) Put together a scrapbook for them with notes from their teachers and peers. Compile a photo collage of their school days from kindergarten to 12th grade. Another great gift for grads is a quilt made from their old school uniforms and student activities.
  • Everyone is always sending photos back and forth via Facebook and email, but we don’t seem to exchange REAL HARD COPY photos anymore! Make a grandparent’s perfect holiday gift by giving them HARD COPY PHOTOS of the grandkids!
  • What is YOUR special talent? Give friends and family a gift certificate for what you do best – piano lessons, car repair, housecleaning, cooking and baking, babysitting, art lessons, computer tune-ups, etc. Think about what you can offer someone and give that to them as a gift!
  • Think about the gifts you have stored in your hall closet – three different toasters you received as a wedding present, four puzzles your grandmother gave you for the last four birthdays, five different photo frames from various relatives – well, you get the gist.
  • So many people these days don’t have health insurance or can’t afford a trip to the dentist. Consider giving someone the gift of health – an appointment to a doctor, clinic, or dentist. Another great gift is a gift certificate for a massage or a visit to a chiropractor.

Think about the favorite gifts you ever received over the years. Chances are they were gifts from the heart. Give with your heart this year!

Published by: Karen Y. Hamilton

Walt Whitman says about his autobiography, Specimen Days “…At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command, which seems curiously imperative. May-be, if don’t do anything else, I shall send out the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This is what I feel at this juncture of my life, the need to gather together memories of my ancestors as well as my own memories into some semblance of order. Because all of those fragments, all of the fragments that make up any life, become stories. I am the mother of three sons, who affectionately (I hope!) call me 'gypsy mom' because I tend to wander around a bit soaking in the universe's wonders. I am currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. I have published essays with Heritage Press, Florida Living, and the St. Pauls Review. I am currently working on a book of poems about the Florida Everglades pioneers and a memoir about grief and the bonds of friendship. I live in my hometown, Jupiter, Florida and work as a freelance writer and curriculum specialist.

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