Simple gifts (and attitudes) for year-round giving
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MANY TIMES AFTER SCHOOL, my brothers, sister and I returned home to find the dining room table covered with construction paper, pots of tempera paint, glue, scissors, and curly noodles. For us it was child's play; to Mom it was real art. She considered our cryptic drawings among her most treasured possessions.
Now we're all grown up and the value of simple, handmade gifts takes on a larger meaning. For example, giving is supposed to make you feel good, right? But what if in the motions of buying a gift and wrapping a present you feel you've lost something? Or that you give but grudgingly or out of duty? Does it mean you've lost the loving spirit expected of giving?
Not necessarily. But it might be a timely signal to examine the feeling behind the giving. By doing so, you might discover how simpler is better, often bringing the most joy--for the giver as well as the receiver. After sharing some insights on giving, I'll follow with a list of gift ideas that will help rejuvinate your giving spirit. Before you know it, the feelings will carry over for the rest of the year.
Could it be so simple? Absolutely!
Nestled in parsley, this giant M&M was created
with a little paint and an oval rock. Flat rocks
make great canvases for garden signs. (Marion Owen photo)
Give thoughts of cheer or words of comfort, sympathy, and hope. If a friend could use a helping hand or listening ear, give your attention. Try to listen more. Give advice when asked or offer your forgiveness.
Simple gifts for gardeners, cooks and everyone in between
What follows are ways to help lighten up the act of giving. That is, giving with your heart and not just with your head. Take a look and you'll see what I mean. Many of the gifts I've listed here don't cost a dime and they don't require much wrapping.A handy tool bucket
Convert a 5-gallon bucket into a tool holder by attaching a tool pouch to the outside. Use a painter's apron, or make a tool pouch from old blue jeans, coveralls, or upholstery fabric. Pad the lid to make a nice cushy seat to help a gardener take a load off her feet. Customize the bucket with a painted design or name. Throw a tool in the bucket for inspiration.
The gift of health
Make a batch of coupons for a friend to be redeemed for walking, hiking, playing tennis, or biking together. Give a gift certificate to a natural food store or a gym. How about a massage or acupressure session?
Gift coupons and promissory notes
Coupons that offer a special skill or service you can provide are always welcome. Think of themes that fit the personality of the person receiving your present. Here are a few ideas, limited only by your imagination:
More ideas (these aren't your traditional anniversary gifts)
Make an edible kitchen ornament
These ornaments decorative and practical, plus they smell great. Start by collecting "smellable edibles" such as:
Humble (and lovely) earth-friendly wrappingsWait! Before you cut and tape reams of wrapping paper, consider earth-friendly alternatives. Wrap gifts in scarves, bandanas, tins, reusable bags, the comics or outdated nautical charts and topo maps. Use string to tie on dried flowers and leaves. Recycle last year's holiday cards into homemade gift tags and decorations.
Doing good unto others
I think you'll agree that these two organizations are beautiful examples
of service to others...President Jimmy Carter says of Heifer International, "I have long been proud of the fine work of Heifer International." Since
1944, this wonderful non-profit organization has provided livestock and
training to more than 4 million families around the world. Heifer helps
impoverished families feed themselves, earn income and care for their environment.
You "give" by donating a llama, goat, flock of chicks or rabbits. Thanks
to your gift, one more family is on the road to self-reliance.
The Prayer of St. Francis of AssisiLord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
"The Italian founder of the Franciscan order of monks, St. Francis approached religion with joyousness and a love of nature, calling all living beings his brothers and sisters." -- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, bestselling author and inspirational speaker, from his book, Wisdom of the Ages.
Thanks for visiting and please stop by again. I'll put the coffee on!
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