Give Gifts Worth Giving

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Crescent Heights

How’d Black Friday and Cyber Monday go for you? Get a tonne of stuff? Oooooooo, I bet you did. Now that you’re loose and warmed up for the holiday gift-giving spree, may I provide a suggestion? For those left on your nice – or naughty – list, why not get a gift that actually gives?

Every year, there's a few people that seem impossible to shop for. I'm sure you, like me, stress and fret over what to get to make them feel as special as they are to you. I would bet that you need to step out of the mall and approach the holidays from a new angle. Here are a few folks that I'm sure are on your list and a few ideas on how to crack their gift wish code.

The “No Things” Person

For those loved ones that don’t really want things, have you considered a gift in their name? Come Christmas morning, perhaps they can open a card that explains the donation you have made in lieu of a physical gift. Charity organizations and non-profits are always looking for help. Your contribution can help their communities: kids, elderly, furry friends, new Canadians, people in need, advocacy groups… (you know, the 99%). Often you can choose the help the front lines, aka: the community they help, or you can donate to the organization operating costs that keep employees employed and the lights lit. It’s noteworthy to remember that charities can’t help others if they aren’t around. Should you need some help on choosing whom to support, check out The Calgary Foundation’s directory.

The “Quality Time” Person

Another idea is to give the gift of your time. Hit up most bookstores and there are mini coupon books where you can fill in the blanks with kind deeds for others. If your arts and craft game is strong, make one yourself. Maybe your Dad wants to play a round of golf with you? Why not give a Good-For-One-Round-Of-Golf to play in the spring? Does you partner wish for more quality time? A dinner cooked at home with no distractions may just be what they want most. How about a foot massage? A night on the town? Games at friends? Or how about some home-owner porn? You know, doing some chores or items on the honey-to-do list without being asked. Keep in mind that it does not have to be extravagant or expensive to be just as thoughtful as a purchased gift.

The “Socially Responsible Consumer” Person

I’ll admit it; I’m 100% down for a gift that gives back to a worthy cause. Product lines such as Product(RED) that works directly with AIDS has dope AF stuff to line everyone’s stockings. More favourites include FEED and Holt Renfrew’s H Project. They both work with artisans in communities to provide them the platform to create and sell some of their own products. Through commerce human dignity can be restored or gained. Dignity should not just be a privilege - which it so often is - it should be a right. If these two are not your jam, there are a lot of other brands that have a giving component built into their pricing structure. Look for the little icons or ask a store staffer at your favourite place for participating products.

The “Edit and Purge” Person

A final gift worth mentioning is kind of like reverse gifting. No, I don’t mean taking from others, silly Grinch. What I mean is going through your home and making a pile of things that you could part with. Go through your kitchenwares, clothing, toys, furniture, books, non-perishable food items, linens, tools, whatever. Next, gather up these clean and gently used items and take them to an organization that can redistribute them to a new home. Maybe, just maybe, it can turn into a family and friend tradition. Some of my go-to’s are Dress for Success Calgary, Goodwill Alberta, and WINS. Your overstuffed closets and basement will thank you.

I say now is the ideal time to get things right. Use the rest of your holiday preparation to not only make a dent in your gift-giving list but also warm a heart or two.