December is a month of gift giving. And with occasions like the office Secret Santa or family “white elephant,” you might be scrambling for some inspiration. Take your gift exchange to the next level with these suggestions, and share your own creative ideas in the comments section.
Gifts don’t have to come from the mall or the internet. Have an exchange of kindness this year. Encourage everyone to give a kindness to a specific person (maybe a night of babysitting for a young parent, or an offer to help with shoveling the snow this winter for an elderly family member), or a gift of compassion to others in honor of the recipient (think a donation to the recipient’s favorite charity or nonprofit in the local community). You can make a fun certificate announcing your gift and even include a small trinket or symbol of the gift (a tiny shovel for snow removal or a place setting of silverware for a donation to a food pantry).
Whether it’s made of macaroni or crystal, an ornament is a great way to commemorate the Christmas season. Make an ornament, buy an ornament, or re-gift that old ornament that hasn’t broken no matter how many times you’ve dropped it. The lucky recipient will think of you each Christmas as they trim the tree.
The old adage says it’s better to give than receive, but it’s best when you can do both! Pick a theme and set up a gift swap with friends, coworkers, or family. It could be something delicious like cookies or something free like a recipe for a favorite cocktail. If you’re up for challenge, get even more creative and exchange homemade crafts!
Add a little twist to your gift exchange this year with the additional instruction that the gift must begin with the same letter as the recipient’s first name. Books for Barbara, a pogo stick for Paula, wine for Will. You get the idea.
Add extra “giving” to your gift exchange
This is a great way to combine gift giving with helping those in need. Proceed with your usual gift exchange (or one of the ideas above) and, in addition, ask everyone to bring $20 to collect and give to charity. When you’ve completed your gift exchange, come to a consensus on who brought the “best” gift and ask that person to choose the charity to which you will make a donation with the money you’ve collected. You could also put everyone’s name in a basket or bowl and draw one to select the person who will choose the donation’s destination.