The first rule of thumb I follow is think out side of the box - literally. Maybe your gift can't be wrapped....sometimes, those things make the best gifts!
"The 5 love languages". He says that everyone gives and receives love in 5 different ways. Most people give in 2 ways, and receive in 2 ways. Once you figure out what love language makes someone feel loved and what language they give love in - you really can understand them so much better! So if someone doesn't feel loved by receiving gifts, but instead feels loved by words of affirmation - sitting down and writing them a letter would be better than buying them a gift. This book changed my life...really it did. I don't say that often, so believe me, it is true. Once I read the book I sat down and looked at everyone in my life and wrote down how I thought they felt the most loved. I highly recommend doing this when you are thinking abut what to give someone. You should go borrow or buy the book, but until then here are the 5 love languages.
1. Words of Affirmation - "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." - The Help
2. Acts of Service - Doing the dishes, watching someones kids for them...etc.
3. Gifts - Usually material things - don't think this need explaining.
4. Physical Touch - Hugs, kisses, etc...you know the mushy stuff : )
5. Quality Time - Talking on the phone with someone, spending an afternoon just listening to a friend, taking time out of your busy life to devout your attention 100% to someone.
Also - the other thing I do is think about the person's likes and dislikes. Do they like gift cards? Do they like only local gifts? Are they a fan of a certain show or sports team? Really think about what makes them happy! Or I also like to stop and observe someone going about their day to day - maybe you notice that their car is wicked dirty - buy them a car washing gift certificates, or better yet - take the car to get cleaned. Or maybe you see that they could really use a night away from home - offer to babysit or hire a babysitter for them.
My Papa used to love giving gifts to his family. When he was in his 60's and 70's he would go out shopping for gifts for all of his 24 grand kids. He had all of our names on a list and had so much fun picking out gifts for them all. On more than one occasion we would be his shopping buddies and helped pick things out for our cousins - what fun we had! As we and he got older he gave money. Then the last Christmas gift he gave me was a hand written card just telling me how much he loved me. Little did he know that would be my most treasured gift from him. : ) Just remember that the best gift is one that shows that you put thought and effort into it. : )
Also, here are some of the things on my Christmas giving list this year:
1. Baking/Cooking Classes
- check out your local community college, most of them offer some sort of cooking classes. Or if you are near a Viking cooking school - they offer fun classes too!
2. Netflix or blockbuster subscription
3. Cookbook! Joy the Baker or Smitten Kitchen
4. Homemade Truffles are so amazing...
5. Movie Night Basket - Favorite Movie, popcorn, PJ's
6. Homemade Biscotti is delicious, and has a fairly long shelf life - so people can enjoy it throughout the Christmas season
7. Hot Cocoa Mix with Marshmallows
8. Breakfast Basket with Homemade pancake mix, maple syrup, farm fresh eggs, local bacon or sausage, coffee
9. Etsy!!!! Where you can buy things like this awesome bracelet
10. Subscription to a magazine or publication...Clubhouse Jr, Martha Stewart, Verily, Radiant, Catholic Digest, Food Network Magazine etc...
As I finish this post I realize that my Christmas shopping is far from being done. I have gifts for only 4 out of the 14 people on my list. Oddly enough this doesn't stress me out - instead I am grateful that I have 14 people in my life to give presents to. In the meantime...I should probably start gifting soon : )
Promise to post a recipe soon! I have been swamped at work, sick with the evil cold, and just down right busy! I have yet to bake a single Christmas cookie this year!!! Holy Moley what have I become? : )
Happy Advent to you all!!