Friday Tips: Creative Gift Giving – Part 2

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Blueberry smoothies and toast with butter for Mom and LP.  Dad was on his own since he got to sleep in and then Mom and LP went to music class
  • Mom and LP snacked on some almonds
  • Lunch: The last of the leftover chili for Mom and LP and the last of the Garlic and Greens soup for Dad
  • Mom snacked on some chocolate rice crispy cereal for a snack
  • Dinner: Cleaning out the fridge – leftovers galore!

Money Matters:
Today we went to music class and then hung out and cleaned up around the house.  No money spent!

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Creative Gift Giving: Part 2

Last week I posted some creative gift-giving tips, but this week I realized that I have more to share!  The gift ideas in this post might not run as cheap – they all involve actually buying things – but they all try and make gift-giving a more rewarding experience.  It was tempting to call this post “socially conscious” gift-giving but that seems pretentious.  Instead, think of these tips as simply ways to think outside the standard gift-giving structure of Black Friday sales in the big box store.

Local Stores: Did you know the day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday?  When shopping for gifts it is tempting to get all caught up in the hype around the big stores like Best Buy, Costco and Macy’s.  Too often people overlook some great gift ideas in their own backyard!  The holiday season is a great time to explore local businesses.  Pick a store you’ve noticed but never gone into, and then go in and browse.  Or, check out a holiday craft fair – they are all over the place these days.  For your online shopping fix, check out Etsy for some amazingly creative items.  Where else can you get a Dr. Who-inspired bow tie mug?

Second Hand Goods: Along the same lines, don’t forget to check out thrift and consignment stores.  It is great to buy and give gifts, but it is even more exciting to give clothes, books and cookware a second life.  If you are someone who enjoys the thrill of hunting down a good deal, these stores will give you your fix.  It’s also a great opportunity to check out some of those local business!

Donations: A few years ago I realized I had no idea what to give to my family for Christmas.  My grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even parents, seemed to have everything they needed.  Sure, I could get them another novelty mug, or page-a-day calendar, but that was just more stuff at a time when many of them were trying to downsize a bit.  Then I started to notice the ad campaigns for Oxfam and other charities.  While I don’t plan to give to Oxfam for reasons explained eloquently by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, I did start giving charity gift cards.  My favorites are Kiva and Donors Choose, because the gift-recipients get to choose the projects and people they are supporting.  Kiva, the micro-loan program, is especially enjoyable because the same money can be loaned out again and again as loans are paid back.


At it’s heart gift-giving is about the joy we pass along to one another, not about getting stuff.  Whether I am practicing creative gift-giving or shopping for the holidays, it is great to have ways to support my local community, or the larger community of do-gooders in the world, while also passing joy along to the people I love.  Get ready to think outside the big box this holiday season!

2 thoughts on “Friday Tips: Creative Gift Giving – Part 2

  1. Of course – I LOVED your Dr. Who dinner party and I thought that mug was an awesome idea! We have a little Dr. Who party with some friends once a month or so – it was our new way of hanging out once my husband and I had kids and couldn’t go to movies without paying an arm and a leg for a babysitter 😉 Anyway, I’m excited to try out some of your dishes next time we have our little get together (especially the chocolate souffle!)

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