Give Meaningful Gifts From The Heart

Posted: December 12, 2011

Are you looking for that perfect holiday gift? Some of the best presents don’t come from a store but rather from the heart.

Gifts of self, time or an enjoyable shared experience can be more meaningful than a shiny store bought present.  Plus they are easier on the budget.
     Consider these gift ideas from Joanne Roueche, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences agent.
     * Give a gift certificate for babysitting, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, washing the car or other services appropriate for the recipient.
     * Create a CD of old family photos to share with siblings or children. Or pass on old photos that relatives would like to have.  Make copies and put into an album as a gift. 
     * Purchase a family pass to a museum or sporting event to help promote family time.
     * Create a family cookbook with all the favorite family foods included.
     * Make a booklet of your favorite memories related to a friend or loved one.
     * Give the gift of art. For grandparents, a framed picture drawn by a grandchild is the perfect present.
     * Make your own calendar with favorite family photos.
     * Consider giving your daughter or granddaughter a special piece of jewelry or glassware that a she has admired.
     * Purchase a magazine subscription which can be enjoyed throughout the year.
     * Set up a monthly lunch date or phone call with loved ones. This is especially important for elderly friends or relatives. Remember to include them in family activities throughout the year.
     * Offer companionship for activities the recipient enjoys. For example, if she likes music, take her to a concert. If she enjoys the movies, take her out to see a movie of her choice.
     * Consider inviting a friend to your home for a special meal, followed by a concert or other activity in place of a gift exchange. Or invite a relative to join you in making cookies and enjoy the time together.
     Often we remember the time and experiences we have with others rather than things.
 This holiday, consider giving gifts of self, time or a shared experience. The memories created by these gifts from the heart will last a lifetime.

Karen Thomas is a family and consumer sciences educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lackawanna County.