This season the number of gifts you need to grab for your SO, neighbor, boss, and dog can seem endless. The holidays quickly become more about what you’re giving and less about the meaning behind the gift. Unfortunately, it makes sense. After all, how much meaning can a portable mini vacuum really have? With that in mind, here are a few ideas for alternative gifts and the tools to make them happen.
Try making a short video for a family member a long way away. With the high-res video capabilities of so many smart phones today, leave your dusty camcorder in the attic and get shooting. Animoto helps you match music to your slideshows and video clips. The online video tool is great for beginners. For the potential Steven Spielberg, pick up a Mobislyder, a portable slider you can mount your camera on that will give your small-budget production a big screen feel.
No one made a pumpkin pie like your Great Aunt Cecil. Honor her hand-me-down recipe and other great family cooks by creating a family cookbook. The easy to use print-on-demand service, Blurb, will assist you in producing a beautiful and unique gift to put under the tree. You can even create new editions every few years for the rising chefs in the family. Prices start at $3.95 with volume discounts if you order seven or more, making it an ideal stocking stuffer for the whole family.
Personalized photo calendars are a great gift for grandparents (or parents, or siblings, or whoever really) who don’t need another coffee mug, tie or foot warmer. First, start by making your photos more stylish by adding an iPhone Lens Dial to snap wide angle, telephoto and fisheye shots of the kids while on the go. Now that you’ve got that squared away, wade into the murky waters of custom calendar programs. There are a ton out there but we happen to like Snapfish because you can add smaller photos on the actual dates as a reminder of birthdays and anniversaries.
Green is always the way to go so give your neighbors some help getting started with their landscape. You can give seeds for edible plants in your region. Use Plant Native to find out what grows best in your neck of the woods. Wrap up some homemade seed balls with growing instructions and a recipe or two to use upon their successful harvest. You might even pick up some organic compost at the local farmer’s market to round out your gift.
Season for Produce
One of the joys of Christmas is the excitement of unwrapping presents. You can prolong that feeling by gifting a Community Supported Agriculture share to a family member. Buying a CSA share for your sister’s family will give them that farm-to-table experience for several months, minus the wrapping paper. The kids will enjoy visiting the farm and your sister will love the benefits of fresh food without the hassle of the grocery store. Use Local Harvest to find a CSA that best fits in your region.
Now, put your thinking cap on and see who’s on your list this year and then surprise ’em like they’ve never been surprised!