gift ideas: part 1

Christmas is just around the corner and if you're looking for gift ideas, here are some thought starters. Today's ideas are going to take a more non-traditional route. I'll tackle those looking for the retail therapy thing tomorrow.

1. Make a donation in someone's name. If you are getting a gift for someone, i'm going to guess you know them well enough to know some of their interests/passions. Instead of more stuff (admit it -- we all have too much of it), may i suggest you make a donation in someone's name to an organization that aligns with their interests/passions? Extra credit: try to find a local organization. I'm a big believer in investing in the communities we live and work. Why make a donation? While the economy may be picking up (some days I'm not so sure), there are still people/animals/organizations/etc. in need. Donating to a worthy organization is a great way to ensure they can continue their work and positively impact the communities we live in. It's amazing how much better we can be collectively when we help each other vs. turn our back on those less fortunate or in need of a hand to get picked up, dusted off, and put back on the right path.

2. Make something. Trust me -- this is easier than it sounds. Who has a smartphone? Raise your hand. Okay, who has a ton of pictures on their smartphone or camera? Keep your hand up. Guess what, you're a fine candidate for this one. Scroll through your pictures (selfies not eligible) and find a picture of a moment you two shared. Upload it somewhere and get it printed. Write a nice note to accompany it, maybe something about the moment or how much it meant/how special it was. Write 1/1 in the corner (this is a unique gift after all!) Done. Extra credit: put it in a frame (i know, that means you have to buy something, but that's secondary to the core idea -- the photo).

Not a photographer, maybe your thing is cooking. i've gotten gourmet sea salts in the past and every time i used them, i was reminded of that person. nice. I know people who brew their own beer, wine, roast their own coffee etc. -- these things make great gifts! I have other friends that are artists/illustrators. Art is a cool, personal gift (and trust me, more interesting than that vintage wine poster you won't get rid of).

Get the idea? We have our own talents -- put them to work (and hey, it's an excuse to practice a hobby we likely don't get to do often enough). Oh, if i ever try to give you a home baked something-rather -- i beg you throw it away. A cook I am not.

3. Take someone out for lunch/dinner This sounds weird, i know, but hear me out. I don't know about you, but i'm running a little slim on free time these days. That means i have less time for hobbies, side-projects, and being honest, face time with friends. If you fall in my camp, try this...surprise a friend and say you'll be near where they work and ask if they want to grab lunch. OR, say you'll be in their 'hood after work and ask if your friend wants to meet up for dinner/drinks. Let him/her pick the place and meet up. Have a great time, nom-nom some good food, and wash it down with a good drink or two and then discretely find a way to take care of the bill (the whole bill). When your friend wonders about the bill, say something like, "it's been taken care of. My treat tonight. I'm so glad we could catch up in person. We don't get to do this enough." Man hug, shake hands, fist bump, or whatever and wish your friend a happy holidays. Done.

Okay, those are my three non-traditional gift ideas.  I hope this inspires the creative in each of you to at least think of trying something a little different. 

lifeb | ftips, gifting