This is a tricky one to address. Many of us are disgusted with the commercialism and consumerism around the holidays that takes away from the reason for the season. And hey, I'm in that boat. Avoid malls, avoid toy stores, avoid too much Santa, try to find meaningful Christian ways to celebrate. However, that said, I love, love, LOVE to give gifts! I don't really mind getting them, either. I guess it's one of my love languages - I think it is for most of us Younces.
Now that we're grown, we choose names for sibling gifts in both the Younce and Hickman families. It would be my great pleasure to give Christmas gifts to everyone, but it's just not financially feasible, so we rotate, which works well. But there are always spouses, kids, and parents to give to. And then there are other people, like friends, neighbors, and teachers, if applicable.
What I'd really like to do is have everyone throw out their gift ideas for different people, but we don't want to spoil any surprises. So instead we can talk about gifts and gifting in general. For example, every magazine this month has a gift guide of some sort. I love looking through these, though most of the stuff I would never buy for anyone. I just like the window shopping. I tore out one page of cool ones to mention on here but Ginger ripped it up beyond recognition. Sorry. Friends and neighbors usually get consumables - one year I made chocolate peppermint biscotti, this year I gave homemade hot chocolate mix or Trader Joe's Orange Cranberry bread mix and my holiday mix cd. I love one year Tona gave neighbors fresh bread or baguette and a little dish of homemade flavored butter, like orange honey or basil parmesan. I don't have kids' teachers to think about yet, but having worked in schools I know what they want - gift cards for classroom supplies, anything handmade by the kids, and baked goods will never be turned down.
This brings me to one of my favorite gift ideas - handmade things. Food is going to be the next post topic so here we're talking about nonedibles. This is a potentially limitless genre, and with so many creative ideas out there, handmade does not have to mean subpar. I remember one year at Kat's over-the-top holiday dinner party she made star stained glass ornaments for each guest as favors. Last year I took Hazel to The Painted Pot and she painted a mug and picture frame for gifts. For awhile I enjoyed making earrings and necklaces for gifts, but the beads have been packed away since the little ones came along. Even if you don't knit, paint, bake, sew or otherwise "craft", custom gifts are still an option. I myself am a big fan of photo gifts - puzzles, tote bags, post-it pads, magnets, note cards, calendars, etc. Drag, drop and a few clicks of the mouse, voila! ReadyMade is one of many good sites for "making stuff", and check out responses to Todd Oldham's call for DIY holiday videos.
What other awesome gift ideas have you used, seen or heard? What's at the top of your list? What's your approach or attitude toward holiday gifting?
Fresh ideas on wrapping gifts is also welcome!