Finding the right gift for someone isn’t the easiest task. This season, help your loved ones find true joy with a different kind of gift-giving strategy that doesn’t rely on gift cards or sweaters destined for the back of the closet. The following ideas never go out of style and will likely mean a lot more to friends and family in the long run:

  • Give time. Sometimes the most valuable gift you can give someone is a break from a hectic life. This might mean offering a weekly or monthly housekeeping service,or making some home-cooked meals and delivering them. The gift of a shoveled driveway for those living in snowy places is more than appreciated, while couples with children will relish a reliable babysitter.
  • Encourage hobbies. Help your loved ones celebrate activities they enjoy. Maybe your friend has always wanted to learn to play the piano, but never took the plunge. Your gift of lessons may provide just the incentive they need. Perhaps your brother has a dream of learning woodworking skills. Pay for him to audit a class at the local community college. If you’re skilled in an area –playing an instrument, growing a garden, making pottery–offer to teach that skill to a family member or friend. Gifts like these keep on giving.
  • Spark the spirit of adventure. Some of the best gifts can’t be wrapped. What have you heard your kids or grandkids talking about lately? Maybe someone just read about woolly mammoths. What about a road trip to The Mammoth Site in South Dakota? Depending on the ages and interests, you might offer a behind-the-scenes tour of a museum, television studio, or local manufacturing facility. Chances are your loved one will want to share their adventure with you, too!
  • Make learning possible. Setting up a 529 plan for your grandchildren can be a meaningful way to invest in their futures. And with recent tax law changes, you can use 529 funds toward K-12 tuition, trade schools, and graduate classes. Of course, money placed in a 529 plan also provides substantial tax benefits.
  • Offer to look into the past. Many people find their curiosity piqued by family history. Offer your loved ones a chance to connect with the past by researching and collating old newspaper and magazine articles from the places where your ancestors grew up. If you’re fortunate enough to possess diaries or journals written by parents or grandparents, consider using speech recognition software to convert them to searchable documents. You might not be the family historian, but most families have one or more relatives who enjoy history. Enlist their help to create a family tree, then give framed copies to your loved ones.
  • Inspire giving. Consider giving monetary donations as a gift to a loved one for them to give to charities they’ve researched and want to support. You could also go shopping with them to pick out and buy items to give to disadvantaged people in the community and around the world. When you go shopping for the holidays, ask a loved one to come and choose food items for a holiday meal to be dropped off at the local food pantry.

Gift-giving strategies like these can transform attitudes and help reinforce the gift of giving beyond simply purchasing more stuff.

Article Date: 11-20-2019