“Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have”   ~Unknown

All too often we purchase gifts for the sake of giving something, anything. To put some meaningful thought behind what we give to those we love does take some creativity. To give some life to the old adage “It’s the thought that counts”, here are a few ideas to get those thoughts rolling:

From the kitchen:

Homemade jams/jellies

Baked goods such as cookies, mini bread loaves, muffins, cakes, dried fruits or candy. Mason jar baking mixes and hot drink mixes with a simple recipe card tied to the top are always a hit.

Friends or Family Outing– Plan a dinner & a movie, go to the symphony, an escape room or a special exhibit

Instead of purchasing a gift for someone give to their favorite charity. For an experience volunteer together to help a favorite cause!

rawpixel-463436-unsplash.jpgGot a green thumb? Give a plant, the plant savvy can start with a cutting from your own favorite house plant.

Other useful handmade gifts: Wax dipped pine cones for fire starters

Homemade candles (thrift shop cups and containers make these candles extra unique)

Make a sustainability kit! Giving a green bag with common items that will help save money and help the planet at the same time. A few great ideas are a package of LED light bulbs, a reusable cup, non-plastic straws, tea diffuser and bulk tea.


Give the gift of education. Many businesses and community organizations offer classes on a variety of subjects such as cooking, crafts, dance and yoga.


Cash in lieu of gifts is almost always welcome for students, those preparing for a wedding, a baby, a house or just about anything that is a part of making dreams come true.

By the numbers:

$71 a year– The amount the average American spends on unwanted gifts. $9.5 Billion a year– The amount Americans spend as a whole on unwanted gifts.  2 unwanted & 1 not liked at all– The number of undesired gifts half of Americans say they get each year ~USA  Today 1-3-17

164 million- The number of American’s expected to hit the stores over this coming Thanksgiving weekend. $1,007.24- The amount the average American is likely to spend between now and Christmas, up from $967.13 last year. ~ National Retail Federation

Wishing you a meaningful holiday season filled with joy,

Audrey L Elder