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Sunday, May 31, 2020
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Meaningful Gifts



     Are you looking for gift ideas that don't involve fighting your way through the big box stores, outlets and shopping malls?  Want to give something more meaningful than the latest gadget or technology?  Following are some ideas for meaningful gifts to share with family and friends.

Pass it down:

     Chances are there are some items in your household that you're thinking of leaving to the children, grandchildren or others after you're gone.  But, why leave these things in your will?  Wouldn't it be better to pass them on now so you can enjoy and share the experience rather than later when your children are grieving? 
     Wrap up those things and give them for Christmas.  Include a note explaining the emotional value of the object, and share its history.  Was it your grandmother's gravy boat?  Did your mother crochet that comforter when she was expecting you?  Was that tool used by your


grandfather when he built the home-place?  Whatever the story of the item, write it down and include it with the gift.
Tell a story: 

     Family stories are a precious commodity...way more valuable than the latest fad from the big box store.  And there are lots of creative ways to pass those family stories on to your progeny.   Write a favorite Christmas story, print it out and tuck it into your Christmas cards.  Self-publish a little book of Christmas memories.  You can create it on your home computer or there are lots of self-publishing websites out there.  If the idea of writing a story sounds too much like an English class assignment, record your story and give it in digital form on a disk or thumb drive.

Share some pictures: 

     It's a digital age, but chances are you have lots of photo albums tucked away somewhere.  Go through them and create a personalized album for each of your loved ones that feature Christmas memories. The younger kids may roll their eyes at such an old-fashioned idea, but some day they will treasure them.  Your older grandchildren and children will treasure them now, particularly if they have felt the pain of loss of loved ones who are featured in the photos. I presented this particular gift to my grown children and niece and nephews a few years ago during our annual family gathering.  They had a great time looking over each others' albums as they sparked memories of Christmases past and of their grandparents who are no longer with us.

Make a scrapbook: 
     If you're into scrap-booking, this is a great way to use and pass on the memories you've got stored away in a box somewhere.  Include those white glue and construction paper ornaments made for you by your children in Sunday school...glitter and all!  Tuck in old report cards, school papers and Christmas play programs and if possible a photo for each year represented by the memorabilia. If you have a family gathering, present the scrapbooks to all the recipients at the gathering as I did with the photo albums mentioned above.  The whole family will share memories and laughs as they look over the treasures.

Share some recipes:

     You don't want your secret recipe for eggnog to stay secret forever!  Give away your favorite recipes and those which have been passed down from your ancestors in a pretty recipe box.  Or share the recipes digitally by creating a file and sharing it in a holiday greeting e-mail or on a thumb drive.  Include stories which may accompany the recipes such as where and with whom it originated, traditions surrounding the food and your memories of it.  Even better, make that special dish and present it along with a copy of the recipe. 
Give your time:
     We Boomers may know better than to get caught up in the holiday madness, but our grown kids aren't there yet (give them time).  They'd love nothing better than some time to Christmas shop, wrap gifts or just get a little rest between work, church and child-rearing responsibilities.  Offer to babysit or alternately offer to wrap the gifts, take the grand-kids Christmas shopping, make the cupcakes for the school class party or help with the decorating. 

Give of your talents:
     You know what your talents are by now.  Share them!  Are you an artist?  Gift your family and friends with your paintings.  Are you good at woodworking?  Make something special for everyone on your Christmas list.  Are you a photographer?  Take a picture of your neighbor's house decorated for Christmas, frame it and wrap it up.  Are you a great cook?  Wrap up your signature dish and take it to your neighbors.  Are you crafty?  All the ladies in my family got a hand-crocheted scarf last year.  How much more meaningful is a gift made by your own hands than something plastic made in Taiwan?

Don't forget other Boomers! 
      We tend to focus on family during the holidays, but let's not forget to help and support each other.  Boomers run the gamut from those still actively employed to those who are dealing with health issues.  Wherever we are on that continuum, we can be supportive of other Boomers in our own ways.  The home-bound Boomer can address Christmas cards for her still-working neighbor.  The physically active Boomer can hang outdoor lights for his friend with mobility issues.  And we all can make a phone call and check in on that Boomer who is alone for the first time this Christmas season.  There are so many ways in which we can help each other have a happy holiday.
These are a few of my favorite things:
     One year in my growing up years, we didn't have much in the way of money for Christmas gifts.  So, my mother and sisters and I made pretty candles using milk cartons, ice we chipped by hand with an ice pick and jelly jar wax.  I will never forget how magical the light was shining through the lacy patterns of those candles.
     Another lean year, my father took some scrap wood he had saved from my grandfather's old saw mill, cut it, sanded it and stained it. Then my mother and sisters and I cut out pretty pictures from magazines, pasted them onto the pieces of wood and then put a layer of shellac over the pictures.  Dad attached hangers and we gave those away to extended family members for Christmas.  They were greatly appreciated.
     Then there was Christmas of the year I married, when my father fashioned for me a rolling pin with some of the old wood he had saved. Best Christmas present ever!  (Thank goodness, I also have one of the rolling pins my grandfather made for his bride.  So I have one to pass down to each of my children some Christmas morning.)
Share your ideas with us!
     Have you presented or received a particularly meaningful gift?  If so, and you'd like to share your story, or if you have additional ideas, we invite you to share them with us by going to our contact page.
     Happy Holidays and may you have a very Meaningful Christmas!