Beyond today’s post, you might enjoy checking out more ideas for simple gifts from the heart:
What gifts mean the most to you?
I asked myself this question several months ago. Three favorites came to mind:
3) Food Treats
I considered what gifts mean the most based on what I like and on what I have observed in my friends. As well, I factored in simplicity. If you are on a mission to simplify your life, as I am, receiving items that will need to take up space in one’s home can be a challenge to our endeavor to have less and less possessions. Currently, I am working with the idea of three criteria when I think about what gifts to give, from the above list. I ask myself what the recipient may find to be:
b) memorable, and
c) occupy little or no physical space.
Offering gifts of experiences your recipient can enjoy, or that you will participate in and savor together, fit the criteria of being thoughtful, memorable, and occupy little or no physical space. Experiences create new memories. Win-win!
I felt inspired to consider this topic when I bought Robert Wall’s book, Escaping “Giftmas”: Getting Right-Side-Up about Gifts in an Upside-Down Holiday Culture. Click on the title to find it on Amazon – and it’s only $2.99! You can read about my discoveries and ideas which evolved from delving into his book in the following post, Gift Guide for Making Memories.
Today, I re-read a post I wrote a year ago, Gifts from the Heart. I think you will enjoy the examples shared there, as well. Some you may already do and some could spur new possibilities for creative, inexpensive (even free) gifts. And some are ideas for experiences.
New Ideas for Gifts of Experiences or Memories
* During a long drive home from Baltimore the other night, I was listening to Delilah’s radio program. (If you aren’t familiar with +Delilah’s show, see footnote below.)
One of her listeners wrote in to describe what she and her family did. Finances were tight. This mom was moved to buy some stationery at a dollar store. She gathered her family round, and suggested that each one write a Christmas note to each of the other family members, describing what traits and actions are appreciated about that person. The mom said their was a little reticence at first. Then, they started to get into it. When the gratitude notes were opened and read, there was an abundance of smiles that turned into hugs.
* A few years ago, my sister and I made a deal with our aunt and her two daughters that henceforth our gift exchanges would be cookies or memories. The memories can be spoken or written, or can be copying old photos or sharing them via email attachment. I think everyone has been enjoying this arrangement as much as I have!
I’m very excited about the memories I came across months ago. I discovered an audio tape cassette on which my mother had recorded more of her childhood and early young adult experiences. (She did this earlier, in her mid-fifties, and she saw how much our whole extended family treasured a plethora of her childhood memories.) The tape was in the back of a drawer in her nightstand. I am transcribing it and will give photocopies. As well, I will offer ways for folks to hear her voice – something we haven’t heard in too many years.
Also, I love the chocolate chip cookies and Russian tea cakes we have received, yummy!!!
* Shhhh – I’m working on a secret little book to give my sister for her February birthday. I don’t want to give away too much, yet. Its focus is on a segment of her early childhood. I’m pretty sure I’m going to use Shutterfly to have a small actual book to give her. I’ve heard wonderful things from folks who have used them and other companies to capture memorable photos and to add captions about the pictures.
* Collage of old photos. I have given family members moderately sized (8 x 10″ or smaller) framed or unframed collages. It’s so easy to photocopy photographs these days, then cut out the part of each picture you want to include. Your collage could be wall-to-wall photos, or you might begin with a sheet of colored paper for a background or use a scenic shot from a calendar, like a large expanse of green lawn or blue sky.
* Last year, what I requested for my birthday was two consecutive nights at a local motel I like (under $70/night, with AAA). I luxuriated in having total “me time” to be quiet, to sleep and read as long as I wished, even to soak in the bubbly outdoor hot tub, without anyone needing anything from me.
* One year, I gave some of my local friends a 4 x 6″ snap from activities we did together – a different shot for each person. I put each in one of those less-than-a-dollar clear plastic holders that has a magnet on the back. It’s good for people who like to put a few pics on the fridge.
* When I was about four years old, my cousin, Dicky, was in the Army. I remember my mama involving me in her project of making peanut butter-molasses treats to send him. I remember the aroma of the ingredients and the sensation of rolling the substance into a ball shape in my palms. I remember feeling happy that we were making a present to send to my beloved cousin.
* Please take a look at the Memory Jars my new friend, Darby Casey is making on her blog. It is such a precious, simple, quick gift!!!!!
Footnote, +Deliliah’s radio program: If you’ve never listened to her show, give yourself the treat of finding it. Her show is all about love, among family members and friends, within married couples or people who recently started dating, for people we’ve never met, and for our animal friends. She plays songs about love and she takes calls from several listeners as they share about the people they love and request a song to celebrate.
My wishes for you include plenty of time for yourself as well as for enjoyment of planning, creating, giving, and receiving gifts of experiences and memories.