I actually really stress about Christmas giving. It was with somewhat of a relief that my family stopped doing gifts a few years ago. My husband's family is HUGE into gift giving. My first Christmas (wasn't until after we were married despite the fact that we dated for about 6 years prior to marriage. My refusal to attend his families parties or stay in the area for Christmas was what turned the tides into an engagement) was really stressful for me as I wasn't sure what was expected...yadda yadda yadda.
I shop around. Lots and early. I try for unique items. Not gift cards unless they are specific restaurants.
So, my list includes for those that are near and with whom we will be exchanging gifts:
- Vintage linen handkerchiefs, it looks classy when at a play, symphony, opera, wedding, or baptism to dab away tears. I purchased one from here a few years ago after my MIL's went missing at a wedding. This one would be awesome for me as it is our family monogram.
- Paper weights from old printing blocks, this is a great alternative to the crystal ball ones or those scary paper stabbers. Ebay is also a great place to find these. I got my FIL one from Notre Dame a few years ago (he is a grad)
- Olive Oil Tree. I love olive oil. I love really good olive oil. A few years ago I read an article about unique "gift of the month" and Nudo Olive Oil was mentioned. We have given this gift a few time to my in-laws. I love the oil. A few more companies have come onto the market for this unique adopt-a-tree but I can't speak to their quality. Here is a small listing, I am sure there are more:
Less Unique gifts
- For littles, I like wooden toys and soft dolls. They take a beating and keep on going. NOTE: wooden toys when they are thrown and hit you. My wooden rolling pin is currently used to fend off monsters.
- Where I struggle the most is finding a gift for my SIL. To be honest, we aren't that close (we had a troubled early relationship and she brought my baby to a bar the first time she watched him). We seem to do a lot of wine for her and I briefly considered a wine-to-go mug. Last year we did California Wine Club. We are struggling this year.
- Memberships to local attractions. In our area, Cincinnati Zoo, Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati Arts Association, COSI, or Boonshoft.
Like I mentioned before, my family doesn't do gifts. This makes my husband upset so we send gifts anyway. The gifts need to be mailed so I am (lazy) a multi-tasker and look for a company than can ship for me.
- Harry and David fruit baskets are our "go to" with my grandmother and parents. Their pears are truly exceptional (and very large). When my siblings and I were small, we used to get a pear or orange in our stockings so for me, this is an edible memory of Christmas. There are a number of similar companies:
- Pittman & Davis
- The Fruit Company
- Of course, there are a number of other unique food gifts that can be sent, especially from our location in Ohio.
- Pay a bill anonymously (for an elderly relative) might be an idea
- I have sent flowers in the past, but I have been disappointed with the end results on occasion so I no longer do that.
- Calendars. I like doing a year in review of our son and then send them to his grandparents/great grandparents. I have ordered from Shutterfly and Snapfish in the past. A few others are:
- VistaPrint - fair warning that they try to get you to sign up for things on a monthly subscription
- Donate to a charity (be advised that donations through Go Fund Me has a fairly large fee). My post last week had suggestions to make sure the charity is using the money in charitable endeavors and not wastefully.