Saturday, December 19, 2015

Last Minute Christmas Giftbuyers Guide

How many of us have been frantically trying to take care of Christmas gift buying at the last minute for whatever reason and really want to do right by your loved ones?  First of all Christmas is about the ultimate gift we all received and that was the opportunity to join the biggest family on earth and that is the family of God. So in that spirit here are a few ideas that you may not have thought of...

Time.  We all have received from time to time a home made gift ticket of one of those you are entitled to from a loved one or friend.  But think about it.  Today time is a precious and in short supply thing for most people.  Think about what you can do to help someone you know with time.  How about making a favorite one dish meal and gifting it to a harried homemaker or an infirm relative as a holiday gift.  Offering to take a family member's car for an oil change, gas up and tire air fill up at your expense.  Offering to babysit for a couple to have a date night. Be a "Merry Maid" and offer to do vacuuming, floor cleaning, ironing, laundry, window washing etc.  Offer to act as an Uber driver for a house bound relative or friend. 

Comfort and treat gifts.  These are gifts you can often find at your local drug store.  Walgreens and CVS have really embraced their inner Santa and these are great places to find these sorts of things.  Walgreens will be open Christmas day.  Fragrances, spa baskets, slippers, robes, soft throws, electric blankets, small heaters, wines, scented candles and decorative scent dispensers, massagers, decadent gift chocolates etc. *Note drug stores are really fabulous for every gift need including great toys, contents for gift baskets like snacks, Candy and Gift cards.  New pairs of sunglasses, readers, lens cleaner.  How about hair bands, fancy hair clips, hairbrushes etc.  Small appliances, Camera's, burner phones, Air time for phones, Gas cards, As Seen on TV items.  The small personal groomers, Vege processors, etc.

Remember when you were a little kid and you made that ashtray or handprint for someone? Well, how about writing an original song, drawing or painting a beautiful picture, writing a personal poem, writing a story or fairytale?

Here's an idea for a new holiday tale for kids with magic. Tell your kids that you have a interesting story to share.  Tell  your kids that money was really short this year and by the time you got to a store you didn't have much money and you begged the store owner for any candy that he could sell you.  He ended up taking pity on you and decided to  just give you some odds and ends of candy that had come out of busted bags of candy and a few sample boxes of candy because he was closing up.  Show them a few Hersey kisses, a miniature Hershey bar, a sample size box of Whitman's, a tiny candy cane, a couple of M and M s and a few gold wrap coins etc.   Then tell them you were walking down the street pretty sad and spotted a portly man with a white beard wearing a white t shirt and red pants walking what he thought was a small horse carrying an empty red sack and a medium size plastic bag.  As he approached closer you realized that it was a reindeer. The reindeer stopped and did his business on a grassy patch near the sidewalk and the man bent down slipping he big plastic bag over his hand and picked up the rather large deposit left by the reindeer.  Well you had to go over and talk to the man. So you did and opening with what a responsible fellow he was for cleaning up after his reindeer. The man smiled and laughed. "Well, it's a given when you have Reindeer.  The jolly man asked him why he looked so sad and he told him his tale and how he hated to disappoint his kids.  The man was very sympathetic and said "I hate to hear of any child being disappointed on Christmas."  He handed his red bag to you and told you when you get home to take the bag and put the candy in the bag and put it in a dark small closet and then have all the children say his name three times and then take the bag out of the closet and open it up.  I asked him what his name was and he said "Kris Kringle."  I said, "Really?"  And he said,"Yes." so here we go kids.  Put the candy in the bag and place in a small closet.  You have stashed of course an identical bag filled with the following identical items  but in the gigantic size.  After saying the name three times  grab the filled bag and close the closet door.  Hold the bag noting how heavy it is and slowly open the bag and peer in the bag looking shocked and  amazed and slowly pull out the gigantic size candies one at a time.  Ah a Christmas Miracle. The little ones are gonna love it and the older ones will love the wonder of your story.  You can find these giant size candies at drugstores, Target and specialty candy stores.

You see, think love, you will be inspired.  There are all kinds of things you can do to put magic in the season.  Think popcorn amania, Air poppers are back in vogue, dig out the old one or pick one up at a thrift shop or drug store and pick up a bulk bag of popcorn kernels. Sprinkle with different flavors out of your cupboard or frig etc.  Dollar store challenge.  Challenge family and friends to spend only a dollar and compete to see who selects the best gift in a secret Santa.  Decorate small table top trees and bring them to folks in hospitals and nursing homes and shut ins. Get those dollar sample sized candies or treats to leave on the desk of those folks you come in contact with at work just to say you're appreciated and don't sign them.  Tons of stuff.

Are you a collector?  Consider gifting some of your stuff to folks that desire or appreciate the stuff.  Things like toys, trinkets, fan boy stuff.  Antique small items.  There's no better feeling.  Instead of giving dollar bills to kids considered silver dollars or dimes, or American currency that is newer but in less common usage like Sacagawea or Susan B Anthony coins  and two dollar bills etc.

Older but back in vogue clothing, bags and costume jewelry.  Thrift stores, your own closet and the like are great sources for these kinds of things.  This is a great place to put together a dress up trunk for young kids for play pretend opportunities.

 How about a making a bracelet with little personal to the person trinkets on it from a craft store. Or a wallet or pair of moccasins.

The Dollar tree is great for fixins for creating a decorative wreath or arrangement.

 AAA members.  Don't forget AAA travel offices have their own gift shop areas with all kinds of great things.  Pick up  a new map and travel guide for your state to give to a traveler in your circle along with a single membership.

Hospitals have great gift shops and often mark things down at the end of the year.  Some even sell clever gift baskets and items for a new baby.

Certain restaurant chains have gift shops like the popular Cracker Barrel.

The grocery store.  I love to pick up a holiday themed reusable bag and fill with store baked goods, crackers, cheeses, summer sausages, imported specialty cookies like Pims , teas and coffee variety packs, dryed soup bags, Hot chocolate mixes, specialty breads, boxes of Little Debbie specialty holiday cakes (they are delicious),Nonni's Biscotti, Nuts, wine, spreadable cheeses, think goodies. They also sell toys, bags of cotton candy, books, knives etc. 

Speaking of knives so many people I know have the dullest beat up collection of knives in their kitchen.  Consider gifting them an electric knife sharpener or a set of new knives or both. An a electric knife and good cutting board with juice groove for those that like to entertain.

Hardware store and Airports are a great place to get that great gift. International airports often feature mini malls. Get your gal pal her own tool set.  Sometimes you find pink sets that no fellow will borrow.  Office Supply stores always have a gift area.  Consider giving large boxes of good quality pens or multipack scissors, mini sewing kits. New year calendars and monthly planners.(Dollar tree has these things of lessor quality for a dollar and everybody needs them). The public library.  Ours has a wonderful used book store and a art gallery with art for sale. Used book stores and thrift stores are great sources for coffee table books, cook books.  Thrift stores for vintage records, fine china, tea cups, art, and vintage Christmas ornaments.

Think logo items.  Like beverages like Coke, Pepsi and couple that with a holiday package of the products.  Folks love that.

Don't overlook pawnshops.

I hope I have helped you get your brain to brainstorm and remember it's not the size of the gift but the size of your heart.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.