Category Archives: Gift Ideas

5 Reasons to Complete Your Holiday Shopping Early This Year

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I have a small gift list, so this is easy for me, but each year, I try to get my gift shopping done before Thanksgiving.  The benefits of shopping early are many! Continue reading

Thanksgiving gifts

Are you having Thanksgiving in someone else’s home? Then, you’ll want to bring a gift to show your appreciation. Here is an assortment of ideas from Cracker Barrel.

Cool Yule Picks for Small Business Saturday

SHOP_SMALLTomorrow is Small Business Saturday, an initiative that encourages holiday shoppers to frequent small business retailers.  Here are some local area favorites…

  • Books: Hooray for Books, Alexandria, VA
  • Toys: Doodlehopper 4 Kids, Falls Church
  • Cameras: Penn Camera, Fairfax, VA
  • Ornaments and decorations: Merrifield Garden Center, Merrifield, VA
  • Retro glassware: The Hour Cocktail Collection, Alexandria, VA

Do you know their Myers-Briggs type? Then you know what to give them for Christmas

I read an interesting article from the folks at Keirsey Temperaments that presents the kinds of gifts people with different personalities will like.  Keirsey lumps the Myers-Briggs types into 4 categories of people.  Here is a summary of their Christmas gift recommendations (read the full article here)

ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, or ISFJ?  Then she/he is a GUARDIAN.

For her: sentimental, engraved gifts.  For him: practical, useful gifts.

ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, or ISFP?  Then she/he is an ARTISAN.

For her or him: handmade gifts.

Is she an ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, or INFP?  Then she/he is an IDEALIST.

For her or him: fun gifts you enjoy together, like trips.

Is she an ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, or INTP?  Then she/he is a RATIONAL.

For her or him: the latest, state-of-the-art tech gadget.

What do you think?  Are these recommendations spot-on? Or would you gift differently?

Christmas Gifts for Distracted People

Do you love someone with ADD or ADHD?  If you do, you know the greatest gifts you can give them are your time, patience and understanding.  But you can also help them learn coping skills and organizational skills that can improve their daily lives tremendously.

The key to gift giving to someone who has neurological differences is to do this it with love and acceptance, as well as appreciation for their gifts and unique and positive qualities.  If you are a person who gives lots of unsolicited advice, then don’t give them one of these presents.  It will come off as patronizing.  Give them something lovely and meaningful, instead.

But if you are someone he or she turns to for support, one of these presents may be welcome.

This post is part of a longer article I posted last year: A Merry ADHD Christmas.

Presents That Show You Care and Understand

  • A month-at-a-glance calendar with blocks big enough to write in plenty of notes and appointments.  If the calendar or planner is for a woman, make sure it will fit in her purse.
  • A mini-recorder (maybe for a keychain) so the person can record where he parked the car.
  • A fun fidget for their purse, backpack or keychain: check out Tangle.
  • A GPS system to keep them from getting lost in the car.
  • Watches with easy-to-read faces are a good gift. You can’t have too many watches.
  • A digital camera for recording events.  People with ADHD tend to be visual learners.
  • Those lavender scented heavy pads for shoulders.
  • Massagers.
  • Timers to remind them to take the cookies out of the oven, or to take a break.
  • A relaxing music CD, such as classical music or instrumental jazz.
  • ADHD self-help books.
  • Nice pens and notepads for making lists.  Post-it notes.
  • Bubbles are relaxing for children, because it requires slow breathing.
  • Thank you notes or other stationery, with custom printed return address labels and stamps.
  • A tiny zen rock garden.
  • An artificial plant (you don’t have to remember to water them).
  • Key organizer (to mount by the front door)
  • Desk organizers
  • Closet organizers
  • Cosmetic bags and jewelry organizers
  • Ornaments organizers
  • Checkbook organizer and budgeting tools.
  • Write on/wipe off calendars and white boards
  • First aid kits, car emergency kits

Holiday Tipping

If you have not already distributed presents and Christmas gifts to people who work for you, Boxing Day (December 26) is  traditionally a time when servants were recognized with gifts of cash and is a perfect opportunity to do it.

Wondering how much to tip people who work for you?

The postman isn’t supposed to get cash. I wish I had known this, but you are not supposed to give postal workers cash, and they are not supposed to take it.  It’s against their policies.  They can accept presents with a value of less than $20.  My postman took the money I gave him, but I’ll remember that next year.

Don’t forget your regular baby sitter or nanny. You should give your sitter the equivalent of a night’s pay, plus a small token gift from your child. Your nanny should get a substantial cash bonus, equivalent to a week’s pay, plus a small wrapped gift.

Did you know you were supposed to tip your personal trainer? I didn’t.  If you have been working with a personal trainer for a year, regularly, tip them the equivalent of one training session.  I haven’t worked with a trainer for a while (can you tell? 😉  But I have given my workout instructors small gifts, like bubble bath sets.

Say thank you to your child’s teacher. I hope you don’t have to recognize as many people (16+) as I do around the holidays.  When you have a child with special needs, you spend a lot of time saying thank you in as many ways as you can.  But if your child just has one or a few teachers, I find that teachers appreciate consumable gifts, like fragrance or bath sets, or candles, since they get a lot of stuff from students.  Also music CDs have been a big hit.  Evidently, they already get plenty of ornaments and cookies.

Random tipping. My mom randomly tips people, and I think this is a nice custom around the holidays.  If someone gives you nice service in a fast-food restaurant, or elsewhere, and you slip them $5 with a quiet Merry Christmas, they will appreciate it.

There are lots of other guidelines for tipping, e.g. for dog-walkers and barbers, but I thought these would be the most common.

Oh, are you traveling for the holidays?  Bring lots of cash for tips!

  • Don’t forget, in a hotel, anyone who helps you with a bag, it’s about $1 to $2 a bag. The person who ultimately gets the tip is the person who takes the bags to your room.That can be confusing in a big hotel where it seems like your bags are shuttled between a lot of people.
  • Leave $3 to $5 a day for the maid.
  • If you call down for something, like an extra pillow, then tip $1 to $2 per item when it’s brought to the room.
  • You don’t have to add extra for room service — the gratuity is always there on the bill, isn’t it?  But they always seem to expect a little something, so be prepared with a couple of extra dollars.
  • Help from a concierge or doorman with recommendations or directions is about $5 (something I myself did not know until now).
  • You tip the valet who takes your car when he brings your car back, not when he takes your car, and $3 is acceptable.

How to Make the Holiday Bright for Your Unemployed Friend

One out of ten people are unemployed in our country right now (I’m looking for a job, myself!).  With the holidays right around the corner, are you wondering what to give to your unemployed friends on a tight budget?  Here are some ideas to lift their spirits this Christmas.

  • Get them out of the house and moving! Job-seekers spend a lot of time on the computer (looking for jobs, of course!).  Why not invite them for a winter walk?  Then be prepared for a lot of listening.  Some people find it easier to talk about their problems when walking.  You’ll be doing their mood a lot of good by getting them walking briskly (which will increase their endorphins) and by listening to their problems (which will reduce their stress level).
  • Propose fun and free things to do together. Check out museum exhibits, free concerts, and tree lightings, all of which are abundant around the holidays.  Skip the mall, which may remind them of how little they have to spend.  Go for a drive and look at Christmas lights.  Volunteer.  Or spend an afternoon together making Christmas cookies or watching old movies.
  • Give the gift of networking. Bring your friend to a holiday event with you and introduce them to people.
  • Offer to read their resume. If you have worked together, and it’s appropriate, consider writing a recommendation for them on LinkedIn.
  • Agree to exchange modest gifts this year. If you usually exchange gifts, or it’s a relative, set a budget, e.g. not to exceed $10, and honor that.
  • Help them with a useful gift. Take their picture of your friend and help them upload it to their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles.  Help them design and purchase a set of business contact cards on VistaPrint. Give them a month-at-a-glance calendar to help them keep track of their job interviews.