Homemade, heartfelt holiday gifts leave lasting impressions

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2001

It's crunch time. I don't have to remind you that Christmas is only two days away.

You may have people on your gift list that seem to have everything, you can't think of a single thing to give them and the time pressure isn't helping at all. Or maybe you are someone who likes to keep gift-giving simple and homemade from the heart.

For difficult people to buy for or for the sake of simplicity keep in mind the saying, "The best things in life aren't things."

What about giving the gift of your own precious time? Create coupons or gift certificates redeemable for time you are willing to share with others. There are a multitude of options to consider.

Here are some of the ideas I have gathered from people who have created coupons for chores:

Simple home repairs

House cleaning

Shoveling snow from driveways, walkways and paths to the gas meter

Transportation around the area to run errands

Transportation to Anchorage

Shuttling children to activities

Child care

Pet care/exercise (great for people who want to travel)

Meal preparation

Food preservation, such as canning fish or making jam

Planting flower and vegetable gardens

Weeding flower and vegetable gardens

Perhaps you have someone you would like to give a gift to who has expressed an interest in taking up a sport or a hobby you can teach. This would make an excellent gift certificate. Another idea is to make a coupon to be an exercise buddy for an interested friend. Success at adhering to an exercise program increases significantly for some people when the buddy system is applied.

If you are fortunate enough to have elders in your life, coupons for sharing time with them would probably be an appreciated gift. Coupons can be made for reading, playing games, watching movies, going for a leisurely drive, writing letters or whatever is appropriate for the person.

What about coupons for children? I have a friend who made gift certificates to take children she knew sledding.

Other coupon ideas I have heard about include ski lessons, music lessons and teaching a hobby such as fly-tying.

I have offered ideas that I hope will stimulate the giving spirit for sharing time not only during the holidays but throughout the entire year.

I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Linda Athons is an agent at the Alaska Cooperative Extension office on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. She is a home economist and involved in the 4-H/Youth Development programs.

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