We are just a few short days away from Thanksgiving and then the mad rush of the Holiday season really starts with gift buying madness as I call it :). With this in mind I thought that I would share some “out of the box” gift giving ideas and also some ideas of giving back.
When I was young one of my most favorite things to do at Holiday time with my mom was to select names off the “Giving Tree” either at our church or at the mall (the Salvation Army here puts names on trees in our mall of people and kids of all ages who are in need). My mom would always let me select about 4, we would go shopping and by things like gloves, hats, scarves etc. We would take them home, wrap them up and bring them back the next week. I have continued that tradition and I still find so much joy in doing it, knowing I’m providing someone who otherwise might not have a gift.
But, What if you want to give back but don’t have extra money to spend? Being a single mom for many years and working 3 jobs to stay afloat – that was totally my situation most Christmases. I did not always have extra money to purchase gifts. So I had to find creative ways to give back. For those of you who feel like they want to do something but don’t have the extra funds here are some of my….
“creative – out of the box” ideas I’ve come up with:
- Volunteer some time at a soup kitchen – there are so many places that would love to have someone stop in and help cook a meal or bake some cookies – don’t just think of Rescue Missions or Salvation Army – There is the Ronald McDonald house, we have one of those that is for adults called the Sarah House, there are hospice homes, disabled veteran homes – elderly shut-ins – do a search you will be surprised at what you will find locally in your area
- Volunteer some time at an animal rescue or humane association
- Have old towels and washcloths? Animal rescues are always looking for these things.
- Have used but still good coats – boots and outerwear? – Donate them to a church or school – there are so many out there that would love something that you or your kids don’t fit anymore
- Volunteer some time at your church… if they have a day care during service or youth group or after school group that might need some extra help
- Love to bake cookies or breads ? How about dropping some off at a Hospital or hospice home especially for the over night shifts – even nursing homes.
- Knit or crochet? How about a blanket or 2 for a nursing home resident
- Have holiday music on a CD or MP3 player? Copy some on to some CDs (they are so cheap now a days) and drop off at nursing homes – respite houses – disabled homes VA hospitals etc
- How about a box of instant hot cocoa and a bag of marshmallows to a low income after school program or day care
For out of the box – low cost ideas for loved ones and friends:
- Offer a friend with kids a free night of kid sitting so they can have the night off
- Offer to walk or sit a friends pet – especially during holiday time it’s hard sometimes to get things done like shopping if you have to keep stopping home to let a pet out
- Help a loved one who doesn’t write well do the addresses on their holiday cards – I used to print up for my mom – mailing addresses of our family so that when she would send cards for any occasion she wouldn’t have to write these out as she has bad arthritis in her hands.
- Offer to help a friend or loved one wrap their holiday gifts
- If you can foods and have extra – put together a little “gift box” of some of your delicious canned goods – I know for myself I love things made by hand and with love!
- Again if you knit or crochet – think about scarves, coffee cozies, gloves, hats, socks or a lap blanket for a loved one or friend.
- Have a friend or loved one who reads? How about hitting a used book store or thrift store and picking up a few new reads – wrap them with a few new tea bags for a special night of reading and tea
- Have a friend who loves coffee? Look for a pretty mug (places like Marshalls or TJ Maxx, even the thrift store sell some beautiful inexpensive mugs) – grab a couple sample bags of some flavored coffees and wrap them all up with a couple candy canes for stir sticks.
- How about a little handmade journal this could even be for a young girl.
- Put together a little art set – put together according to age but you can find fairly inexpensive mini paint sets or small watercolor paint sets at Michaels – even check out your local dollar store you’d be surprised what you can find in there. Pick up a pretty journal – or make one add to it a couple pretty pens again you can find gel pens for fairly inexpensive – you don’t have to buy a huge set just a couple. Wrap it up with a few pieces of pretty ribbon you have in your stash kids & adults love little kits of pretty creative things!
I hope that this helps some of you out there looking for some unique ideas for giving or giving back. There are really so many creative ideas and you may have some of your own that would be unique to your loved one, these are more of a “General one size fits all ideas” just to help you get those creative juices flowing with ideas!!
I hope to have time to share a few gift giving ideas that are handmade with all of you in the next few weeks for those of you who would like to give something handmade.
If you missed my video posted on Saturday you can watch it by clicking here I show you how to create your own tag kit for holiday time – this could also be made and given to a friend or loved one or change the colors – paper etc to something neutral and not holiday and give as a gift to be used for any occasion throughout the year.
This year for the Holidays I am committing to not buying more crafty stuff but I am going to use what I have and make some pretty handmade gifts and kits (because lets face it most of us have a lot of “stuff” we can use). It feels so good to use things I bought and loved but have been holding on to for the “right time to use it”. Well NOW is the right time.
Who else is in? All you have to do is use something you already have in your stash instead of buying something new. Share that you are using your holiday stash and tag me on social media – if you share on your blog please link back here so I can see what you are making and creating! Get creative and use up some of the delicious holiday stash you have collected!
I will have a new Holiday tutorial on Friday, 11/24 on my Youtube channel. Many times my tutorials get posted there before I can share them on my blog so be sure to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss any of my free tutorials. You can do that here .
I leave you all with a little pug and frenchie love on this chilly day here 🙂
Have an amazing Monday my friends!!
xxoo – Sherry