Thursday, December 4, 2008

Woofing Wednesday's Gifting Tips

© copyright Carrie Boyko

The Pack Leader at work...Watch Out Cesar Milan!

I'm busy planning my gift list, and thinking about my options. Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Think socially responsible when buying gifts.

  2. Think local; what can I buy or make with local raw materials? This year I'll be doing a lot of baking. Perhaps you are artsy and can paint, sew or craft some clever gifts. These kinds of offerings have more personal appeal and gift the gift of your precious time--a meaningful gift to most.

  3. Think budget-minded. In these uneasy economic times, we are all considering our options for spending less this holiday season. Homemade gifts often can fill that bill, but watching the sales can also be a great way to save. Try my Organic Banana Bread recipe at Blake Bakes, where I am the organic baker.

  4. Purchase items from charity websites like Save the Children. Do your own search to find charities of your choice. In most cases, all of your money goes to a good cause and you get a creative gift. My husband loves the neckties from Save the Children. They have cute multi-cultural children on one style, that is his personal favorite.

  5. Try organizing a re-gifting trade (kind of like a cookie exchange) with your friends. Everyone brings an unwrapped gift that was received previously by any family member, and never used. Gifts are all displayed while refreshments are served, and then each guest chooses a gift to take home.

  6. Got a toddler on your gift list? A couple of times over the years, I've used this idea and found it to be loads of fun. I collected scraps of 2 x 4's in many shapes from building sites. These were the basis for little neighborhood blocks. I painted each block to look like a different object or building: trees, schools, houses, pets, stores, banks, etc. They make a nice setting for doll play and are loads of fun to stack and knock over--the favorite game of a toddler. One tip: Be sure to take pictures. You'll treasure these.

  7. Elementary and middle school aged kids love this idea, which we used a few times when my kids were growing up. Give 2 plain pillow cases or T-shirts, along with a few small tubes of fabric paint or permanent fabric markers. Your child and a friend can make their pillow cases together, helping each to decorate their creations with fun doodles, drawings and clever sayings.

  8. Smaller children will enjoy making a pillowcase or T-shirt with you as their assistant. One idea I've used is to write their name on the shirt in large block letters before giving it to them, and then allow them to decorate the rest with their own artwork.

  9. Now for my favorite. You can get hours of creative playtime for your kids with this free gift. Yes, you read that right. I did say it is free. Check it out: Start collecting boxes of all different sizes, concentrating on large ones. Tape them shut so you have cubes or rectangles. When you have enough to build a small fort, you're ready to give this gift that your young children will play with for years. I think my kids were still building sleepover forts in their early teens. Need help finding enough boxes? Check with all your friends who are buying electronics, stop by the grocer to ask for boxes, and don't miss your local U-Haul's box exchange. Leave a box (any size) and pick up one that you'd prefer. This is a great place to get some larger boxes in exchange for smaller ones you don't need for this project.

  10. Finally, think about ways your kids can decorate their fort-making boxes after you've given the boxes to them. The possibilities are endless, so use your imagination: contact paper, paint, construction paper, plain cardboard liners from packaging, magazine picture collages, markers, and the list goes on. This, too, will keep them busy for hours--much better than video games.

I hope I gave you each even just one idea that you can use. If you have an idea to share, please click the COMMENT button just below this post and let me hear about it. Maybe I'll share it with my readers. Thanks!

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