I’ve never looked at “holiday shopping” as an event, something to do on (barf) “black Friday,” something to get out of the way in one fell swoop. Buying a gift for someone should take some time, I think, and certainly a good amount of thought. Some people are great at taking notes throughout the year and then giving their loved one a gift they casually mentioned wanting months ago. I, frankly, am not that capable a human being. But I do try to give gifts that I know will be appreciated, so I window shop and I browse stores and catalogs until I find that thing that makes me go, “Yes! My sister/niece/mother would love this!”
If you’re like me, that might mean you still have some holiday shopping left to do, but don’t worry. I’ve got some great ideas that will not only help you find great gifts, but gifts you can feel great about:
1. SHOP IN A WAY THAT GIVES BACK
For example, I bought books for my daughter at her school’s book fair and a gift for my sister at the holiday craft fair my daughter’s school sponsored. At both events, a portion of the proceeds were donated to the school. There are plenty of stores that donate a portion of their proceeds to charity around the holidays. Or many big box retailers will sell items that benefit children’s charities. Of course, if you’re feeling extra charitable and you know your friend or family member would appreciate it, you can always donate to charity in their name. Check out JulieApple Design Studio’s beautiful, bright Home/Work bag. 25% of the sales will be donated to Katie Allison Granju’s Henry’s Fund, a nonprofit which provides meaningful assistance in paying addiction treatment costs for young people aged 12-20.
2. SHOP LOCAL OR BUY FROM THE ARTIST
When you shop at a locally owned store, you’re boosting the economy in your community. Pretty simple, right? You’re not only helping to keep your town full of the shops, goods and services you love, but you’re feeding the owner and his/her family. You can also buy gifts made by people you know, the sale of which benefits them directly. For example, my friends Andrea Henry and Myq Kaplan created this jokebook for kids, which I’ll buy for my daughter (who just so happens to love jokebooks). Their book is being sold on Amazon, so they won’t see all of the profits, which is why comedian Louis CK decided to sell his most recent stand-up special as a download on his website. Much has been written of how well that has worked for him.
3. GO GREEN
4. MAKE A LIST OF WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
Then ask your family members and close friends for the things you actually need. And ask them what they really need. This will save you from having to return things, it’ll save space in your house and giving/receiving essentials saves everyone money in the long run. Besides, socks are a traditional Christmas gift! There’s no reason they can’t be fun! And they’re cuter and warmer than cash (which is nice, but it’s not a gift).
5. BUY QUALITY ITEMS THAT CAN BE GIVEN AWAY LATER
Especially children’s items. Take it from an admitted Target addict: it’s nice to buy cheap kids clothes, but if you spend a few dollars more for quality children’s clothing items, you can either hand them down to your younger children or give the items away when your kid outgrows them in a matter of months.
6. ASK FOR AND GIVE RE-GIFTS
Go with me on this. My niece has a million Barbies. She’s 14 now. Yes, she’s saving a few of them as collector’s items, but I see no reason why the other dolls couldn’t be re-gifted to my daughter. My 6-year-old won’t know the difference and honestly wouldn’t care. It saves my sister money – and I don’t have to worry about recycling all the plastic packaging that comes with a new doll.