5 Ways to Give Meaningfully This Christmas

family next to christmas tree with presents

Jingle bells are just around the corner, and with them come days of frenzied shopping and gift wrapping. What if you could gift better this year? Consider these unique Christmas gift ideas with more meaning and added value.

Avoid clutter, make memories

A mountain of gifts under the tree and stocking stuffers paint a pretty picture. Come February, are your children still playing with half of their new toys? How many are broken or have run out of batteries?

As an alternative to cluttering your home with more noisy gadgets and tiny pieces to step on, experiment with purchasing experiences instead of gifts. Buying an annual membership to the Georgia Aquarium or Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida, offers your children an educational, outdoor experience to enjoy all year long.

A membership to a children’s museum, such as Discovery Place in Charlotte or EdVenture in Columbia, South Carolina, will encourage your budding scientist’s love of nature. If you have a child who shows a passion for art, check your local pottery studios or art museum for available classes. This type of gift may help them discover a new passion or skill. As a bonus, you’ll spend time learning as a family.

Set up for success

Older children and grandchildren often have their own money from part-time jobs to buy new shoes and clothes. When it comes to holiday gifts, consider giving them a head start on a larger investment such as college tuition, apartment furniture, or a used car.

Opening a savings account can allow you to transfer money each month or quarter. Bonus: teach the young adult to put aside money of their own into the account to start good money-saving habits. By the time the next Christmas rolls around, they have saved up for a purchase and learned the value of waiting for good things.

A certificate of deposit might not seem very exciting, but they’ll realize the value when the CD matures with enough funds for a down payment on an affordable used car to drive to college.

Keep in mind that your contribution may be counted under the gift tax. Consult a tax professional for further assistance on calculating a gift tax.

Take a family trip

Marvel action figures, Disney princess dolls and Legos make great gifts. What if, however, you ask your children if they’d rather have more toys on Christmas morning or a trip to see their favorite characters up close? You might be surprised at their answer.

Plan your trip for spring break or summer. Set up a family savings chart and encourage participation with chore allowance or odd jobs in the neighborhood. You can even begin the chart by coloring in the amount you didn’t spend on unnecessary toys. Save as a family by cooking together instead of eating out, and watch the progress grow until it’s time to pack your bags for the sunny location of your choosing.

For the one who has everything

We all have that friend or loved one who is difficult to find the perfect gift for each Christmas. Or perhaps you and a close friend have already given each other countless presents, and you’ve run out of fresh ideas.

Instead of another piece of jewelry or T-shirt, consider making a donation in their name. Think about the causes close to their heart, whether cancer research or endangered wildlife. Larger nonprofits, including the World Wildlife Fund, allow you to adopt an animal and receive a plush toy in return.

When considering what to buy for a lifelong friend, surprise them with an activity you can enjoy together. Purchase a gift card to a pottery studio and make each other a vase or bowl. Attend a touring Broadway show and sing along. Purchase sports tickets and cheer for your favorite team on the road. Bring a group of friends together with a gifted wine tasting. The possibilities of fun you can have together are truly endless.

Vintage is always in style

It’s no secret that fast fashion is harmful to the planet and the workers who labor for low wages to make it. The materials and fabric may look good on Christmas morning, but they quickly lose their luster and often end up in a landfill. In fact, the United Nations estimates that people are buying 60% more clothes, but only wearing them for half as long.

When considering what to give this holiday season, push back against overconsumption and shop vintage. Fashion moves into a circular pattern, so there’s a good chance that 80s-style leather jacket from a local vintage shop will thrill your trendy niece. Plus, these stores often carry vinyl records, vintage posters, and accessories.

Not everyone has the time to find treasure at a vintage boutique. You can, however, research sustainable brands offered at major retailers and order online.

Whether you opt to give a state parks pass, handmade goods, or a gift from your loved one’s list, we wish you a bright holiday season.

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