Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I need help!

Here we are in the second half of October. I can't believe how quickly Christmas is approaching and am so not ready for it this year! Most other years I have half of my shopping already done. Not this year. There are a variety of reasons for that. For one thing, I'm just stumped on what to buy people anymore. We all have so much stuff! Actually, we have been trying to buy more consumable presents. And in the last year or so, I have been more conscious of fair trade goods and eco-friendly products. That makes shopping a bit more challenging, since in the past I spent my time perusing the clearance aisles at TJ Maxx and Marshall's looking for the perfect gift at a decent price. Now that doesn't quite seem to fit into my mission of promoting fair and green purchases.

Have you ever bought or made a gift for your child and could barely wait to give it to him or her? Makes you wonder if that's how God feels when He has plans of bestowing something truly wonderful on us. I want to feel that way this year, but so far it is looking doubtful. I just don't have anything spectacular in mind. It is really hard when your kids don't need anything anymore. And while the impulse will be to over-buy for the lovely little Lady Laura (Lincoln's too young for that this year), she really doesn't need a lot more stuff. As I said, I am feeling challenged this year in a way I have never felt before.

So, here's where you come in. I need help and I'm asking for your suggestions.

Post comments with links to fair trade and/or eco-friendly gifts (reasonably priced, please!) or give me some ideas for other types of gifts. Since there are so many couples on my gift list, couple gifts are great!

There's no reward, prize or giveaway involved with this one. I'm just asking my wonderfully supportive community for some help. Fair enough?

Thanking you in advance,



  1. Gift-giving has always been a tough one for me. Some of our family members are really weird about "stuff" and outdoing each other and it wears me down. Every year I swear I'm going to make gifts using some of the copious amounts of craft supplies in my studio, and every year I have a bunch of half-completed (or worse, half-started) projects and a bill with

    This year HAS to be different. We have to get the spending under control and regain the Christmas focus. Who cares if Uncle Bob will get mad that we didn't spend $X? We desperately want gifts to be able to the giver and not the actual gift.

    Anyhoo, I guess that's not much help, but if I do think about it, I'll let you know. The best idea I can come up with are the Zoo, museums, etc. Another fun one would be a Burgh Bits & Bites tour for two. I did the one through the Strip and it was awesome! Perfect for a history buff or a foodie.

    Looking forward to what your other readers have to say!

  2. I like St. Basil's Coffee. Not inexpensive, but it support the missions:

    Another thing --I NEVER do my shopping until December, because I don't get lists from my kids until then. I ask what they need. If they don't give me a list, they get a check.

    I try to notice through the year what my kids could use. For example, I saw that my daughter really didn't have a sewing kit. And my son in his own apartment doesn't have an iron. So right there are two practical gifts that I know will be appreciated.

    For couples, food gifts or a bottle of wine works. Part of simplifying life is to focus on the reason for the season and give simple gifts. And it works to cut down your gift list, also. Years ago we opted out of the gift exchange with my husband's siblings. It was crazy trying to come up with a gift for someone you only saw once a year.

  3. We still exchange with everyone in my family (sisters, brothers-in-law, niece's family, nephew's family, etc.). It is really getting to be too much. I just cut out the exchange with my two best friends, which is hard, but the postage costs alone are outrageous.

  4. Thanks, Jen! We do theater tickets, etc. some years. I have so many out-of-towners to buy for, and that's where it gets really tough.

  5. One year I made my working daughter a book called "Nana Time." In it I put pictures of everything I do in a day with Lizzie when I'd watch her. I had pictures at the Giant Eagle, Library, Lizzie taking a nap, standing on a stool while I cooked, watching "Sesame Street" etc. She loved it--burst into tears. I loved doing it too. I've also made afghans, scarves and hats for the kids as well. In Sept, I made her a bunch of frozen dinners for busy nights. Man, would I have loved that when I was a working mom!

  6. I think giving someone an experience is always really great. Gift cards for a favorite restaurant, for a night at a bed & breakfast, to a show, etc. If you want something more tangible for them to open, I would always suggest buying at Ten Thousand Villages- one of my favorite stores ever. Samaritan's Purse is also an amazing organization where you can "buy" items for people in need and do it in your loved one's name. And I know that you mentioned you don't want to go shopping at some stores, you could always go to a second-hand place to "recycle" gifts that someone else didn't want :)

  7. Love the ideas Maggie! And you know I'll be hitting the thrift stores and consignment shops! Laura's sitting on my lap right now wearing an adorable outfit I got for her birthday at Once Upon a Child.

  8. Hi Hana! My mom gave me a recipe box with all of my favorite recipes and family recipes. I use it weekly. Jill

  9. Thanks, Jill! My best friend did that for my wedding shower. I still use some of the recipes. I've always wanted to do that for my girls, but never seem to have the time.


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