Whether you like it or not, it is time….try to be thoughtful.

Melissa Jensen
3176 days ago.

I actually enjoy Christmas shopping, I started my shopping back in July.  (Everyone who rudely remarked then that I was insane is now most certainly wishing that they had started then too.)  I don’t make a list, I don’t set a predetermined amount for what I am going to spend on each person, I won’t ask you what you want and unless it’s to a really special place I don’t ever buy gift cards.  I am not a shopping guru, I hate shopping, I hate malls, I don’t like mass consumerism, I’m not the person who finds amazing deals all the time.  So…take it for what it is worth.  Here’s are my do’s and don’ts for holiday shopping.

Do: Make a list of those you will buy for. This will help keep you from last minute crap buying.

Don’t make this list based on who you think is going to buy something for you.  Way to ruin the spirit.  If you don’t have much to spend, there are some good tips so keep reading.

Do Think of something that you can get for multiple people.  Last year I got socks for half of my list.  Everyone loves a great pair of socks and merino wool socks are an indulgence.  You may not want to spend $20.00 on a single pair of socks but they make one heck of a gift to receive.  Try Smartwool.  This year at least three people will be receiving copies of the same book recommended by an author we all enjoy.

Don’t buy gift cards.  This is about as lazy as you can get.  Fine, buy a gift card for that picky teenager that you don’t live with.  I really think that kids have received so many gift cards as of late that they don’t really understand what gift giving is about.  Your brother really, really wants to put down new floors?  OK maybe in this instance it is a little thoughtful, but at least make it this specific, add in a note stating your intention “thought the best gift would be a contribution to your floor fund.”

Do try throwback gifts especially for siblings or friends you’ve had for a long time.  My husband made little gift bags for his family last year that contained amazing things like fruitstripe gum.  Did you used to eat something special with your dad every year?  Buy it for him.  If every Christmas you ate peppermint ice cream with your family this would make a great gift.  Put a bow on it.  Memory stuff really tugs at people’s heart-strings.  It doesn’t have to be pricy to be amazing.

Don’t buy a home decoration item for anyone on your list unless you live in their home and you have the exact same taste as them.  Another exception would be if you have been shopping with them and they pointed out a specific item and you know whomever is living with them will absolutely love it too.

Do get creative with kids toys.  Every year people stress about what to buy grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  You ask the parents and they seem as puzzled as you.  Give retro and classic toys a whirl.  In this day and age of video games and highly electronic toys it is unlikely that they will already own a jacob’s ladder or Fortune Telling Fish.  Just google Retro Toys and you will be happily brought back to your childhood.  Kids haven’t changed that much. You may think their shows are gross but remember Garbage Pail Kids…..come on.

Don’t try to outspend people.  One year my sister gave everyone in our family these tins that had slips of paper in them.  It was the best gift I’ve received.  Each piece of paper had a memory written down that involved her and the person who had received the tin.  Unless you are a member of our family, feel free to steal this idea.

Do be local.  I mean this in broad terms.  I work downtown.  Washington Ave Post makes amazing smelling candles.  Gifts for several people with an explanation that it’s from the area I work in.  Give your favorite coffee to everyone in your family that brews their coffee at home. Local bakery near you?  Candy shoppe?

Hopefully I have done my part to spur some ideas and stop the needless gift card abuse.  (Really?….is a vegan going to use a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory???)  It’s about sharing what you love, making people smile,  and memories.  Now if you will excuse me my amazon cart is full.

Photo courtesy of wiznation.com
Brought to you by Mills Properties 

Melissa Jensen

Melissa is a native of the Greater St. Louis region. She is addicted to anything Google, and cannot understand why motion activated paper towel dispensers never see her hands.

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