When someone has everything, what can you give them for Christmas? Yet another shirt? More bath oils to cram on the shelf? Not socks again – that would be a sock too far. If you’re facing this dilemma, it’s time to think outside the box – literally. Consider the types of gift that can’t be wrapped. Here are some suggestions, for an exciting alternative to the usual gift-wrapped package.
Treat your friend or relative to seats at the theatre, circus, opera or sports event, depending on their interests. If the local cinema is their favourite haunt, you could pay for the next trip. How about an extra ticket for yourself? Your company will add to their treat and turn it into a party.
Entertain your friends and family. Make hosting your gift. Tailor your event to the tastes of your recipients, as well as the limits of your budget. Elderly parents might appreciate afternoon tea and a slide show of family snaps, for instance, whereas your friends might prefer a dinner party or a casual drop-in event with games, quizzes or fancy-dress. Make it clear that the invitation is their present, in lieu of the traditional type.
Living room performances
Relatives and old friends will cherish a cosy evening of stand-up performance fun. This could include everything from formal, prepared pieces to ad hoc improvisations, be it music, drama, comedy, belly-dancing, karaoke or anything else you and your guests can offer. Who would swap that whirl of wonder and hilarity for gift-wrapped socks? Provide refreshments to suit your pocket.
Select photos from your computer stockpile and set up a blog for them. Add captions and any headings and ornamentation as required, and email a link to your recipient. You could make several different e-albums, varying the photos and captions to suit particular friends or relatives. Alternatively, just select a few photos and email them as an attachment. You may feel it’s cheating to give a cost-free present, but you have paid in kind, remember, with time, effort and skill, rather than money. Your gift offers the personal touch.
A year’s subscription to a magazine, or membership of an organisation or society, could be just the ticket for someone on your gift-list. If they pursue a hobby, play a sport or study a specific subject, they’ll appreciate free membership of the relevant society and all its special events and perks. Renew it next year for renewed simplicity, or make it a life-time subscription and never have to think what to give them again.
Your gift could be a day out or a holiday, with or without yourself. A day trip to a favourite place might make an ideal gift for an elderly relative or a young child, for example. Perhaps you could stretch it to a weekend or longer. Holidays don’t have to be luxurious and expensive. A week’s stay in a log cabin, for instance, could make a fabulous gift.
Whatever your present, explain that it is, indeed, a present, and that it’s to take the place of a boxed and ribboned one. Once you start thinking of alternatives, ideas will flow. Remember, though, it’s the thought that counts, not the cost, so keep well within your budget. Your nearest and dearest will be touched to receive your gift, whatever it is.