Experience the Holidays
Over the past year we have stopped giving tangible gifts and started gifting experiences. When people hear these words, they tend to think of a trip or a concert. While those are both amazing options, they can be so expensive. We have come up with some creative gifts that encourage spending time together.
Homemade Monthly Delivery This idea really came to life last year when I was trying to come up with a gift for my grandparents. They would much rather spend quality time with us than get random gifts. Can you honestly blame them? KIDDING. But really. Back on track – We gifted them a monthly cookie delivery. The first Sunday of each month at 4 PM we deliver a dozen cookies and play cards (or some Wii Bowling). This gives me a good excuse to try out some new cookie recipes as well!
This year, we are following the same idea, but the card will say, “HAVE A SOUPER NEW YEAR!” Then, each month we will take them a batch of soup. We will enjoy a meal together (and play cards of course), and they will have a meal of leftovers to eat during the week. Gaga, if you are reading this, please act surprised. We are soup lovers and could eat it every day, no matter the temperature outside…and by we, I mean everyone but Alex. Sorrrrrrry.
Coffee Lovers We are following that same idea for my father-in-law who loves coffee. We will take him to a different coffee shop each month and enjoy a cup together! Although mine will be a Chai Tea Latte – Oat Milk! Mmmmm.
If the coffee lover in your life doesn’t live in the same location as you, find local roasting classes. These are usually very affordable, you get a coffee, AND can take home a bag of beans you roasted (and if you’re extreme like me, you’ll bring your own bag)! Though I do not drink coffee, I find this idea of roasting beans super exciting. If you are like me and do this, you will then have beans to gift to another person. Oh my gosh, two gifts in one. SOLD.
Growlers are the best because they are easy to refill and don’t require packaging. Plus, you always have the option to take something home you love. On Christmas you can give them the growler. You can take them to a tasting at a local brewery and get them a refill of their favorite! They will also be able to reuse the growler in the future. You could even make it a tradition to try out a new location together for each holiday.
These are also perfect to gift to someone who is hosting a holiday event! Take a special delivery from your favorite brewery, and they can enjoy at the party, keep the growler and reuse!
Check out a local winery. Gift them a tasting and their favorite bottle. We did this for Alex’s sister last year and had a great time tasting all together. Such a fun experience, and then they have a bottle to enjoy later while thinking of you…or something like that.
Dates with your honey
We planned a date for my in-laws and my brother and sister-in-law last year. While this is fun to do, we realized it’s much more fun to get to spend time with the people you love, rather than just giving them something to do on their own.
Last year, Alex & I decided to forego gifts to each other to go on a trip. While this was a total blast, this year I thought we should bring back the idea of gifting with the other person in mind. That brought up a whole new idea of planning a date with the other person in mind.
Each of us secured a timeframe and will plan a date that the other person will love. In case he decides to read this when he sees the word gifts, I will refrain from sharing the dates I planned. Yes, you read that correctly, DATES.
This could be anything from a picnic in the park, hike, homemade meal, to a weekend getaway. Guidelines can be set for pricing that way one person doesn't blow you out of the water. Also, make sure both parties respect the guidelines, or one person could say, Let's set a budget of $100" and gets you an iPad and makes you cry tears of joy, but also guilt.
If you know me, you are aware that Christmas present decision making is nearly impossible. Thanks to this, I have planned 2 days and will present them both on Christmas and give him a choice. THEY ARE BOTH SO AWESOME I CANNOT WAIT TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEM!!!! This is the first time in 8 Christmas celebrations together that I have not told him his present early because I got too excited or could not decide between two options. GROUNDBREAKING.
Update: Since I wrote this post, Alex accidentally) found out his date ideas. He saw a glimpse on my computer screen and couldn't look away HAHAHA I thought angling it away from him would send the memo, but apparently it was not as drastic as I thought. I jinxed it being so proud about keeping the secret. Better luck next year I guess!
Events I am gifting tickets for one event this year: BACHELOR LIVE. Every week, my mom and I watch The Bachelor together. When I saw the tour dates, I knew we had to make this possible. We got tickets for a group of mothers and daughters who always watch and will have a girl’s night!!!
For the waste-conscious person that needs stuff
Package Free Shop is a great online shop full of items and tools that can make the zero waste transition easier (ran by Trash is for Tossers, Lauren Singer). This is a great resource to get items without packaging that you may not be able to find in the place you live (without ordering 100 amazon packages).
Stuff your face During this time of year, many people bake for their co-workers, neighbors & loved ones. While this is so fun, it can also be full of Ziploc, foil, and disposable baking trays. I love to gift goodies, but have reinvented my presentation.
There are lots of creative DIY treats in jars like homemade hot chocolate, cookie, or soup mixes that are easy to make in bulk if you have a number of people on your list. Last year, I made homemade vanilla using a vanilla bean pod and vodka. This lasted the entire year and tastes incredible. There are also ways to infuse oil for the experimental cook in your life!
If you go the cookie route, buy a cute container/jar/tray from the thrift store for presentation or use old hand me downs. I love to make cookies, so I look for cute trays and dishes at estate sales or secondhand stores. If people don't return them, it's okay. If gifting treats is something you do yearly, give out a holiday container with a note that says, "Please return for next year's special delivery." or something that will prompt them to return the container (because they will be so excited for the next batch of goodies).. When people know you avoid waste, things like this are not surprising and make a lot of sense to the receivers.
My co-worker brings a HUGE TABLE FULL OF COOKIES to work each year. Everyone knows when the cookie table will be set up so they can prepare to bring their own dishes from home. This is so fun to have treats to take home for the holidays! By having advanced notice, people can come prepared. They can also build their own custom tray, which is so much fun!
All in all, there are so many awesome gifts and experiences that are low-waste and affordable that you can give one time or sprinkle over the entire year! Talk about gifts that keep on giving!!! Let me know any other ideas you have given or received and I will add them to this running list for our future reference.
Wishing you the most wonderful holidays with your loved ones!