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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great Gifts Ideas You Might Not Think Of.

Predictability can be a good thing, like when you're making Mom's traditional recipes for Christmas cookies. But when it comes to gifts under the tree, if it looks like a shirt box, feels like a shirt box, and sounds like a shirt box, it's probably a shirt. Ditto for new slippers, CDs, and toiletries. Part of the joy of giving is the joy of surprising. Let's shake things up this year.

Refresh your gift-giving habits and delight recipients with these suggestions:

Go "green" and support local farmers.
"What can be a greener gift than supporting local farmers at a local farmers market?" Good question, posed by Holly Foster of Tacoma's Zestful Gardens. This WSDA certified organic farm owned and operated by Holly and her mother Valerie Forster, participates in 3 local farmers markets: Broadway, Proctor, & Steilacoom. "You can purchase Zestful Dollars (gift certificates) in $50. $100, & $300 amounts for your friends, family, or co-workers to spend throughout the Farmers Market Growing season at the Zestful Gardens' booth," Holly says. Email her at to purchase a "zestful & green" gift certificate. For more information about Zestful Gardens visit" Winter won't last forever, and your gift will give someone something to look forward to next spring. Other farmers offer gift certificates too.

For our neighbors to the north, Seattle Tilth is offering a "2 for 1" membership through the end of the month of December. Take advantage of this opportunity while you can, and also check out some other exciting gift ideas on their website, like the "Maritime Northwest Garden Guide planning calendar. Click here to learn more.

For bird lovers
, the "Bird Watching Answer Book" by Laura Erickson, Science Editor at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, makes a perfect small gift or stocking-stuffer for only $14.95. It is published by Storey Publishing and available through Amazon. Get answers to questions like these: Why is a cardinal attacking my windows? (p.87) Will birds explode if they eat rice thrown after a wedding? (p.17) How can I keep squirrels out of my bird feeders? (p.37) Do birds play? (p.268) Why don’t birds fall off branches as they sleep? (p. 305) Listen to the author talk about the book on this You Tube video.

Membership in your local Audubon Society will delight an individual or entire family with many opportunities for outings, education, and fun. It also includes a subscription to their magazine full of amazing photography and articles that captivate.

Speaking of memberships, don't forget about local Museums such as Seattle's Museum of Flight. They offer so many exhibits, lectures, and fun activities year 'round, I can't even list them all. Incidentally, my connections at the museum tell me SANTA will be arriving there by helicopter this Saturday, Dec. 12, with live reindeer on the scene too.

Tacoma's Washington State History Museum is one of my favorite places, but we also have the Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass and Children's Museum.

Then there are those one-of-a-kind gifts that can be priceless even when they cost next to nothing. If you're an older member of the family, write down your life story or special memories, bind simply, and give as gifts. Include copies of old photos. It's easy to go to the Kodak machine at places like Bartell Drugs and make them inexpensively.

Frame a child's drawing for grandparents. Give a little girl a treasure chest of costume jewelry you don't wear anymore, for playing "dress up." My sister-in-law gives her 94-year-old mother, who lives in an adult group home, boxes of all-occasion greeting cards, plus postage stamps. What a great idea. Consider tickets to an event. Do you have a family heirloom and know just who you'd like to have it someday? Why not give it to them NOW? If you knit and know someone who'd like to learn, give a skein of yarn, some knitting needles, and a "gift certificate" for lessons from you. This could apply to any skill. Just be sure to follow through. And those predictable old family recipes would be a great gift on a set of recipe cards or in a small binder.

Take joy in your giving. Think about avoiding waste. And remember that often the best gift of all is simply our TIME, LOVE, and ATTENTION.

1 comment:

whidbeywoman said...

What great ideas!
Happy Holidays!