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20 Gifts that Might Actually Get Used

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by Lynne Cargill (subscribe)
I'm a grandmother, a retired teacher, an avid reader who loves historical re-enactment, English Country Dance, writing and Op Shopping. My business is designed to help children experience history through school incursions.
Published May 23rd 2014
Nightmare or Joy?
Gift giving seems to get harder and harder. Everyone has so much. Most of us do not need any more clutter. Many of us have very definite ideas on what we like and don't like. So instead of a pleasure, gift giving has become a nightmare.

gifts, peg dolls, special days,family, christmas
Gift giving can be a nightmare.

Also the cost is totally out of hand. People spend outrageous amounts of money needlessly.

Here is a list of gifts for you to peruse and consider. Hopefully you will find one that suits or it will spark another idea you can use. Good Luck.

1. Coupons for skills
Offer to babysit, mow, cook your specialty, clean a room, knit a scarf in their chosen colours, help create a garden, bring your equipment and pressure hose the driveway or fix all their minor repairs. A friend of mine once painted my bathroom for me. I was delighted.

2. Pay for a cleaner
or a gardener or a babysitter.

3. Plants
Pot up some herb seedlings. If you plan ahead you can have well grown plants by gift giving time. Give a fruit tree in a pot.

gifts, peg dolls, special days,family, christmas
Nurture some cuttings from your own garden.

4. Seeds
Packets of Eden or Diggers Seeds in a pot or basket. Or plant some in an egg carton and give them the established seedlings.

5. Food
Homemade or interesting goodies. I received a cruet of ground pepper and salt, oil and balsamic vinegar as a house warming gift and it is still in use daily. ( It's in the photo) Look up Pinterest for cute packaging ideas. You'll find things like Recipes in a Jar and Flavoured Sugars and Salts. The old staples like jam, relish or biscuits are always popular too.
Homemade Marmalade.

6. Movie Money is usually well received

7. Folding Umbrellas
You can never have too many. They break; they get lost; the family 'borrows' them. Keep one inside, one in the car, one in your suitcase ...

Umbrellas are really useful gifts.

8. Theatre tickets
Or a subscription if you know they go regularly to that theatre.

9. Groups
If you have lots of co- workers or you want to thank people such as the nurses at a Nursing Home, make a basket of Lucky Dips. I collected useful, but inexpensive items (I aimed at $2) and wrapped each item in pale cellophane so they had an idea what was in each gift.

Some ideas:
tea towel - these were very popular
handmade soap
Tea bag holder
kitchen timer
tree decorations
hand towel
nail clippers- pretty ones
pens - some were bought from Charities
hand cream
small notebook/ shopping lists
Gardening gloves ( I sewed holly and bells on the cuff)

gifts, peg dolls, special days,family, christmas
A gift basket lucky dip for the nursing home staff.

10. KIVA
I give Kiva vouchers to people who I know are involved in charitable activities. Last year I gave my teenaged Granddaughters a Kiva voucher each and they now sponsor someone of their choice. One of them was really thrilled with the idea. The younger one not so much but she still did it even though I offered to buy it back and give her money instead.

11. Dress up trunk or suitcase - These are invaluable when it comes to Book Week or Costume occasions. Scour your wardrobe and Op Shops for sparkly, swishy dresses, dance costumes, crazy hats, ties, suit coats, vests, handbags, wild wigs, jewellery. The case or trunk can also be decorated.

Start this young and it can become a tradition to add to it each year.

12. Seed balls for guerrilla gardening. Give the kids permission to throw things! Many many sites explain how to make them. Basically, you put seeds in papier mache or clay, let them dry, then throw them in ugly places that need beautifying.

13. Peg Doll Kit - Fill a container/shoebox with dolly pegs, pipe cleaners, scraps of fabric, lace, ribbon, wool, coloured cotton wool for hair, some fine point felt pens and strong glue.

gifts, peg dolls, special days,family, christmas
Gifts like peg dolls will encourage creativity.

14. A science kit
A friend gave her grandchildren a book of experiments and the materials to do the experiments, all in a basket so they could be easily tidied away.

15. A book and a matching gift.
A book like "Ella Kazoo Will Not Brush Her Hair" would lend itself to a cute brush and maybe some detangling spray. "Zac Powers Foul Play" could be accompanied by a soccer ball or Spy Kit.

16. Sewing Kit
Only plan this if the child has shown an interest in sewing or if you are willing to sit and help. Otherwise, it'll never be done.

17. Felt Board
Younger children still enjoy an old fashioned felt board complete with people and clothes or a story to act out. On Pinterest you can find lots of patterns. You can copy and cut up a Fairy Tale or a favourite story and put sandpaper on the back so the pieces will stick.

gifts, peg dolls, special days,family, christmas
Felt Boards can be bought or made.

18. Worm Farm
You don't have to buy one. Look up instructions. A foam box with a bit of newspaper and compost is a good start. Buy some worms and there you go. Or give the materials with instructions and making it can be part of the present

19. Magnetic Sculpture
This is DIY gift. In a sturdy container (eg. an old biscuit tin or small suitcase style lunch box) put a collection of magnets of all different shapes and sizes. Make sure they are strong ones. Then add as many magnetic objects as you can find.

Think about what you'd need to build a robot or a vehicle and then go through your drawers, your tool kit and a hardware store. Sinkers, bolts, tin cans, strange shaped metal bits, washers, keys. You could also spray paint a biscuit tray for a magnetic board. We need to encourage creativity in children.

20. Money
When all else fails most children are happy to receive cold hard cash. Pinterest has lots of ideas on how to fold it origami style to add a bit of interest. Or you could put it a purse or wallet.
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Why? Happy recipients, happy givers.
Your Comment
Some of these ideas are terrific. Next time Oroton has a sale I might buy some umbrellas to put away :)
by Jen Alexander (score: 2|131) 2386 days ago
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