Unwrapping Christmas
I am sure many people have heard of or thought of "doing Christmas differently". You know what I mean... people get tired of trying to find the latest "hot toy" for the kids; valiantly looking for an item for the person who has everything (we all have at least one of those in our families); fighting the crowds at the malls; and  yes, scouring the internet (even if you are dressed in your pjs) can be overwhelming.

So what do you do? Is there an alternative?

I would suggest you first do your research. Get out your pencil and paper (or get thyself to a keyboard) and do like jolly old St. Nicholas... start making a list (it wouldn't hurt to check it twice).

The initial thing to do would be to look at the person you are "gifting". What kind of financial circumstances are they in? If their situation is a limited one (financially), they would most likely appreciate any basic necessities that are offered... Maybe a basket of groceries, or some treats they wouldn't be able to afford (popcorn, candy, cookies, etc) to buy for themselves.

Another area to look at might be what kind of health are they in? If they are on a specialized diet (diabetic, high blood pressure,  heart disease, etc),they might appreciate some medical gizmo that would help them to monitor their health more closely. Maybe even a coupon for future homemade meals prepared specifically according to guidelines for their health situation.

What about hobbies/special interests? I automatically think of crafting, something I have an interest in... maybe they could use something to organize what they already have... what about  that lure the avid fisherman would just love? Or the gourmet chef in your family? Wouldn't they be thrilled to have a great gadget to help with culinary masterpieces?

Of course, you don't want to forget about those very important folks on your list... the aged and the young. Sometimes the very best things you can give them (and others, too) is your time.

For the young: Coupons for a morning at the park, a visit to their favorite fast
food restaurant, or just maybe an hour of uninterrupted time of pure play (with you, of course). Maybe some time with you in the kitchen, or out at the shop (just watching you at work).

For the aged: Time, time, time! Too many of us don't seem  to have enough time for our aged family members. Maybe a good idea would be to give them coupons for a regular visit (weekly, monthly, whatever works). Offer to help them do something around the house they might not be able to do anymore. Certificates for your very own "meals on wheels" throughout the year. Take a special photograph which has great meaning for them, and have a copy made. Put in a beautiful frame.

Oh, gosh! I almost forgot the person who has everything... well, there things out there for them, too.

The first one that springs to mind is charity. Donating to a worthy charity in their name is a very thoughtful thing to do... you will be helping the less fortunate, as well as remembering your very fortunate loved one.

The last category and a special one to me is this one: shut-ins. People who may not drive due to age, health problems, or who just don't have a car. It can be so frustrating and/or embarrassing to have to ask others for transportation to a doctor's appointment, grocery store, etc.

One of the most thoughtful gifts to me would be the promise of "a day out", to take care of mundane things like picking up the groceries, the dry cleaning, medical prescriptions, and maybe drop by and make a quick visit to the nursing home or hospital to see a sick friend or relative.

By looking at Christmas (or any other time of gift giving) a little differently, you can "unwrap" the package and present it your own way.

Merry Christmas to all!