Is there ANYONE out there that really doesn't like to give gifts??? I mean, besides the Grinch, and he overcame that problem...
I LOVE to give gifts, really all year long. I see things that speak to me for someone and then... I don't wait - I gift them right away! I just can't help it!
This is for THOSE of you that have not yet finished (or started??) your gift shopping - this is an evergreen list, so feel free to bookmark!
Things began stirring in my mind as I've been repeatedly hearing a radio ad representing a local jeweler. The ad states how ALL women really want diamond earrings - and if she already has some, she "probably wants bigger diamonds." That ad makes me want to punch the radio. (I'm not a violent person.) Obviously, women are so superficial that all we think about are diamonds, larger and larger DIAMONDS! What?! Well, maybe some do.
But I know so many men and women that love to give back, do things for others in a TRUE spirit of giving. I thought I would share some gifts that are a bit more on a humanitarian side, those that are about thoughtfulness and being that AUTHENTIC person.
Gift to Charity in the name of a loved one.
My cousins, siblings and I have done this as a group gift for my grandmother. She doesn't need any "stuff" and she was THRILLED with this gift, as she has always been a very charitable person. We gave in a way that directly impacted people in a third-world country, and it's an amazing thing to know you can make an immediate difference in someone's life!
(It's also tax-deductible, if we're being practical... but that should not be your motivation for giving!)
Being charitable is the Second Treasure of the Three Treasures.
I've found lists of charitable organizations, but do your homework before you donate. It's up to you how you want to spend your money - to whom you would like to donate. Some organizations have a larger percentage of the donation that goes toward administration and overhead, and these are things you can (and should) research online. I prefer to donate at a grassroots level - and personally see the fruits of it.
I love LHI (Lord's Harvest International) which works doing mission work, including providing physical help to various people around the world. This may be donating toward purchasing animals, such as goats, chickens, and cows or also helping with building churches and homes. I personally know those on the board for LHI, so I have a high comfort level for this organization.
Gift an experience.
This summer, I took two of my nephews to their FIRST big concert - they loved it! It was a fun, bonding experience and something they probably will never forget. I'm not sure you could really forget WEIRD AL, anyway!! Don't you just LOVE HIM?! (Talk about being unique in this world!!)
Think of an event, location, or something to do with someone you love - it doesn't have to be extravagent. It could be planning a fun day hiking at a nearby state park or something like that.
I recently met these best friends out on a hike at one of our state parks! They were pretty awesome! Take the time to spend with those you care about!
Create an experience for someone you love, or your best friend. It shows you put in the effort to do something wonderful.
Purchase Fair Trade gifts.
I've talked previously about Fair Trade coffee, but there are SO many other items you can shop for that impact the world in a positive way - a gift with a conscience! I recently went to a small shop I LOVE in Iowa City. It's primarily a thrift shop, but a portion of it is a gift shop, full of delightful items... well, I just need to include their shop description:
"The Crowded Closet is a non-profit thrift store and international gift shop. We are located at 1213 Gilbert Court, Iowa City. All the profits of the Crowded Closet go to support Mennonite Central Committee, a global relief and development agency, as well as local community relief and service organizations.
The thrift store sells donated goods: clothing for men, women and children, housewares, furniture, toys, books and antiques. The Gift Shop sells handcrafted items from around the world, purchased from fair trade organizations. Stop by the Crowded Closet and spend some time shopping 'where every purchase is a gift to the world.'"
Shops with a similar mission probably exist in your neck of the woods, wherever that may be - and, of course, you can find more online. On my last trip there, I bought 2 paperweights from Kenya (one is shown above and has a word engraved on each side), some Fair Trade chocolate and... coffee!
Delicious AND makes you feel great!
Gift from local / small business.
I've said it before and I'll say it again! Buy local! Buy small business!
I have many entrepreneurial friends and love to give people a shout out for their businesses - and remember that most orders are custom and have different time frames in which to make them. So, plan accordingly.
I've mentioned Purple Pincushion in this other blog post... I am always amazed at the crafts(wo)manship of Sarah's pieces! Felted wool and vintage cloth are two of the materials with which she upcycles a tired and possibly unwanted item into a piece of art. Sometimes, this is functional, but always beautiful! Connect with her on Facebook!
The third, and last, small business I will mention is a favorite product of mine, as well as a local business.
Capanna Coffee Roasters is a great coffee and gelato shop that you won't want to miss if you're in Central or East-Central Iowa! There are three physical locations, but these coffee beans may be shipped out to you - wherever you are! Mike roasts the beans in-house (at each location!) and adds a little bit of magic to the science that goes into the process. See more photos on Capanna's Facebook page.
All three of these are connections came from when we all were in college! Who do you know that has gone off and followed their dream - creating a thriving small business fueled by their passion? (Are YOU that person??) These are all small businesses but all ship to you - wherever you may be in the world!
Gift "learning and doing."
What is it that you or your loved one want to learn? Would you love to learn to play piano or ukulele?? Learn how to ski or snowboard? Would cooking classes be more your style? Whatever you or your loved one would love to learn about, there are classes for that! Below is an idea for your favorite Network Marketer to begin (or make successful) or bring to fruition their dreams.
Do you want just a night of fun painting & wine? (You NEED NOT be an artist to do it - just have a great attitude and a sense of adventure!) If you're in the vicinity of Topeka, KS, check out my friend, Margie's, Paint Therapy Uncorked studio - where friends come to have a great time and create a custom piece of art! (Check it out!)
Learn something new with your loved one - the time together is PRICELESS and what better gift is there than that??
I hope you gained some great and unique ideas from this post! Gift with meaning and thoughtfulness, be conscious of what you are gifting others and how they are impacted.