If you are anything like me, Christmas shopping tends to be as trying for my brain as it is for my wallet. I end up getting lazy and going with a gift card with a cute little nondescript thing to augment the bag and make the present look like I actually tried. It’s not that I don’t care, its just that I have run out of ideas – approaching my 20th Christmas on this earth, how could there possibly be present ideas that I haven’t thought of yet?
After some research I have deduced that the best way to approach giving a unique and potentially more meaningful holiday gift this year is to think outside the box. So instead of splurging on gift cards at your go-to holiday shopping places or emptying out the BC bookstore’s inventory buying presents for your entire extended family and friends, try these new ideas:
- Etsy: You can find a gift for almost anyone at etsy.com. The best part? Everything on the site is handmade and unique (lots even have the option to personalize), so your gift will stand out. Also, the site is organized to streamline your gift search and there are gifts in every price range. (I am personally OBSESSED with all the jewelry – seriously, check it out!)
- Ten Thousand Villages: Order online or at one of their 70 stores located across the country. The company is an established fair trade retailer that “strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries… by establishing a sustainable market for handmade products… and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income.” So you can buy great handmade, diverse gifts with the knowledge that you are helping otherwise underemployed artisans pay for their livelihood.
- Fredflare.com: Home of the quirkiest but yet most perfect novelty gifts. It is full of the random things you think you would never need, but even now as I scroll through their gift guide I keep thinking things like “wow so-and-so would love that” and “this would totally make so-and-so laugh.” Here you can find everything from a Hangover Cookbook to Crayola Crayon nail polish to red solo cup shot glasses that are perfect for stocking stuffers or Secret Santa presents.
- Charities: Heifer International sums it up pretty well on their website by saying “The Holidays are for giving.” Does your dad really need another tie? Does your cousin really want a pair of mittens that she probably won’t even wear? Instead give the gift that gives repeatedly. Through organizations like Heifer Intl. you can help a person or family in an impoverished country become self-sustaining by giving them a cow, or clean water, or sending a girl to school, etc. You can do so by donating through their website and sending a card to the recipient explaining what you donated in their name and why.
- Do Something Together: Either go the homemade coupon route or buy an actual coupon or gift card (yes this is the exception to the taboo I put on gift cards earlier) and take your Mom out to lunch or your sisters to get their nails done or your friend to a movie. The possibilities for this one really are endless – I’ll let you use your imagination.
- Homemade: And there is always the ever-charming-gift-made-by-your-own-two-hands to fall back on. A homemade gift is always special because the recipient knows how much effort you had to put into it. Check out Pinterest for some ideas! (And see our other article.)