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ARTICLE ARCHIVE: Think Outside the (Christmas Gift) Box

Think Outside the (Christmas Gift) Box

When your list is long, but you're short on time and/or money, buying Christmas gifts can be a chore rather than an expression of love and good wishes. If just thinking about shopping for gifts wears you out, you might need to look at the process with fresh eyes. Imagine putting the "merry" back in your holiday season this year and making it exciting and new. It can happen. Really. All you have to do is be creative and expand your options.


Start with your gift-giving list. Has it grown so long that it's taken on a life of its own? To tame your gift list, look at each name and ask yourself some important questions:



Why is this person on my list?


If you're giving from a sense of obligation rather than joy, find a way to gracefully remove yourself from the situation. Of course, you can just skip giving a gift this year and hope she gets the hint. But you'll feel awful if you get a gift without giving in return. It's better to come to a mutual agreement. Perhaps the other person is hoping for a way out, too. An easy and effective way to escape from these entanglements is to offer a compromise. Suggest that instead of exchanging gifts, the two of you get together for dessert at a local cafe or that you join forces to bake holiday goodies in your kitchen.


If your relationship isn't that close, just come clean by saying, "I've really enjoyed our gift exchanges in the past, but I need to limit giving to a few family members this year. I hope you'll understand."


Would this person enjoy the gift of time as much as (or more than) a traditional gift?


Many of us believe it's not a proper gift if it can't be unwrapped. We even feel apologetic if we resort to a gift card, thinking it's not personal enough. Perhaps the most proper - and the most personal - thing we have to give is our time. If a relationship is close and you enjoy each other's company, why not plan an outing instead of buying a gift? Dinner at a favorite restaurant, a day of shopping, rooms at a bed and breakfast inn, or a movie marathon can all be special Christmas gifts.


Giving your time in the form of a service is another possibility. Create vouchers for babysitting, pet sitting, house sitting, lawn mowing, baking, or transportation. Give your imagination free reign and you'll probably come up with something more memorable than anything you could buy.


Can I include this person as a recipient in a group gift?


If you typically give gifts to every individual in a family or group of friends, think of something that all of them can enjoy together. Ideas include dinner at a favorite restaurant or tickets to a performance or movie. Families might also enjoy a DVD, video game, or board game. Along with the gift itself, you'll be giving them an opportunity to share an experience.


Would cash or a gift certificate be an appropriate gift for this person?


Contrary to popular belief, money and gift certificates are not poor gifts. They may not be appropriate for everyone on your list, but giving them doesn't necessarily mean the giver doesn't care enough to select something more personal. It might, in fact, be the most personal gift possible since the recipient can spend it on whatever he/she really wants at that moment. Gift cards and cash are, truly, the gift of choice. You can add a personal touch by writing a note to include in the envelope. Let the recipient know how you see them spending their gift and that you hope the selection process will be enjoyable.


How much Christmas gift shopping can I do locally?


As you review your list and come up with ideas for the perfect gifts, ask yourself if you can buy them close to home. You'll save gas money and you'll be supporting the local economy.


What kind of gifts can you buy in and around Pawnee City? To get you started, below are some gift-giving suggestions for the area. If you'd like more information about any of these businesses, visit the Business Directory.


We wish you Joyous Shopping and Happy Gift Giving!



Blecha Baling ~ Pawnee City

Gardeners will appreciate the gift of several bales of quality mulch hay, and horse owners are sure to find a use for a few square bales for winter feeding.


Bob's Electronics ~ Pawnee City

Televisions always make great gifts, whether you're buying for someone on your list...or treating yourself. So do HDTV antennas.


Community Insurance Group ~ Pawnee City

Peace of mind is one of the best gifts anyone can receive, and an insurance policy can provide a sense of security. Paying the premiums for your son's or daughter's car insurance for a year might give you some peace of mind, too!


Convent House Bed & Breakfast ~ Steinauer

Reserve the entire house for a summer family get-together and give each family member an invitation as a Christmas gift. Or give someone special a very special weekend getaway.


Creative Thoughts ~ Pawnee City

Holiday centerpieces are a big hit with hostesses, and floral arrangements brighten any home any time of the year. While you're ordering flowers, check out the store displays for many unique gift ideas.


Den's Country Meats ~ Table Rock

Invite your friends for some holiday downtime and serve a variety of locally processed sausages and meats. Or pick up several packages and create your own unique gift packages.


DuBois Bar & Grill ~ DuBois

Instead of exchanging gifts, invite your friends to gather for a casual lunch at a local cafe to chat and exchange holiday recipes or gift ideas.


DuBois Hair Care ~ DuBois

Everyone likes to look her best at holiday parties, so treat your Mom, sister, daughter, or friend to a new hairstyle. And don't forget the guys. They like to look good, too.


The Gandy House Bed & Breakfast ~ Humboldt

The holidays are a busy time, so what better gift can you give than the opportunity to relax either during or after the holidays? And what better place to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate than The Gandy House?


Haughton's Beauty Salon ~ Pawnee City

Give the gift of pampering to that special someone this year. A manicure, pedicure, tanning sessions, a new hairdo, or a collection of styling products will bring a smile to her face.


Home Town Photos ~ Pawnee City

Memories are the gift that keeps on giving. Capture a memory with a family photo session and give framed photos to each family member for Christmas this year.


Jeannie's Place ~ Lewiston

Make a reservation and invite your friends or family to slow down and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with you in a beautiful, relaxing setting. It's a gift everyone will enjoy.


Klepper Oil ~ DuBois

New tires may not be a traditional gift, but for struggling college students and others caught in the economic downturn, a pair of new tires could be the best give you can give.


Memory Magic ~ Pawnee City

Are there any creative, crafty types on your list? Buy an assortment of scrapbooking supplies, gather them into an attractive package, and watch the inspiration begin.


My Blue Heaven ~ Pawnee City

Do you have friends or relatives who plan to visit the Pawnee City area in the next year? Find out when they will be here and reserve rooms for them at My Blue Heaven. Let Yvonne know you'd like to join them for breakfast and use the time to catch up.


Pawnee Auto Body ~ Pawnee City

Has someone on your list been putting up with a cracked windshield? Surprise them by repairing or replacing it for Christmas.


Pawnee Dental ~ Pawnee City

It's not unusual to find a new toothbrush in your Christmas stocking, but you might take the next step and pay for a professional cleaning, as well.


Pete's Pharmacy ~ Pawnee City

Sure, you can buy gift items at Pete's, but if you want to get really creative, all the necessary components and put together your own version of an emergency First Aid Kit. Or assemble a a Sweet-Tooth Rescue Kit (containing an assortment of candies, along with a toothbrush and toothpaste).


Smith Auto, Inc. ~ Pawnee City

Do you have a friend or loved one who is always working on his/her car? Chances are a replacement part is in order. The perfect gift might be a trip to Smith Auto to find the part, which you'd buy, of course.


SchillingBridge Winery & Microbrewery ~ Pawnee City

A good bottle of wine is always a great gift, but if you really want to impress, take the recipient to SchillingBridge winery for a tasting and let him/her select a favorite vintage.


ZCBJ Hall ~ DuBois

Is someone on your gift list a country music fan who loves to dance? Plan to celebrate big at the New Year's Eve dance and pick up the tab. You'll both get to celebrate.



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