In Pride and Presents, my most recent Christmas Town story, Steven Dorsey and his sister, Alexis, are wealthy and lucky to have everything they might need. They promise each other to buy no gifts for Christmas. Because my hero is a smart man who loves his little sister, he immediately breaks that promise. In my own life, I’m surrounded by friends and family and happen to love the shopping and wrapping part of Christmas. Those family members? They’re more likely to hit me with “I don’t need anything” when I ask for gift-giving ideas. Does that stop me? No. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. It just makes the process a little trickier.
If you face a similar challenge, here are some ideas I’ve tried (with mixed success, but it’s the thought that counts):
- The handmade. Not everyone loves crafts. It’s a sad, sad fact that hurts my knitting heart, but add a bit of family history to the mix, and you have a near-certain winner. How about a collection of recipes passed down from grandmothers and mothers? Or restored photos of early holidays? This doesn’t take a lot of time or money, and no one can deny the love that went into the gift.
- The homemade. We’re talking baked goods here. Coworkers with cookies and family members who slave over hot stoves to make that one thing that I can only have at Christmas? My heart grows three sizes.
- Cold noses, warm hearts. One of my most memorable gifts given to me by a group of friends was a donation to a local pet shelter, because I love animals. Charities come in a wide variety of causes, and there’s one to match even the most difficult-to-fit person on your list.
- Your talents. I like words and find ways to use those: calendars with handwritten notes added, cards to say what I’ve been meaning to say, the occasional goofy poem now and then. You might be a painter or able to install ceiling fans or one of those people who can organize a pantry or hang Christmas lights or… there are so many options on ways to use your time and talent to make a one-of-a-kind statement. I have to stick with writing.
- “Have you considered a good book?” she says with a smile, but she’s only a little joking. They come in all kinds of sizes and styles: humor, history, how-to, horror, happy, heartwarming. Those are only a few of the H’s! I once bought a boss a book about his favorite rock band for his birthday. Was I nervous? YOU BET. But it was one of those “What do I get someone who has everything?” gifts and it paid off. Books are magic.