Being practical at Christmas and making memories

Christmas and reasonable gifts
Christmas and reasonable gifts

We often feel pressure at the holidays to buy gifts for family members but many times, we end up getting a gift “just to get a gift”. It usually ends up being something we think they will like but in all reality, they would never have gone out and purchased it because they really didn’t want it or need it. Here is a solution to that never ending question: What do you get for that one person who has everything? Very simple: think practical.

Clothes get worn once or twice and then set aside. As much as we’d like to see others wear certain clothes, it may not be their style. If you truly want to get them clothes, why not get them a gift certificate to a particular store and maybe a suggestion for certain apparel which caught your eye and you thought they might like. Housewares, cookware and cleaning equipment such as vacuums, unless specifically asked for, send a message that you want the person to do work; not to enjoy their time.

Giving pets as a gift is not a good idea either unless you are 100% sure that the person is ready for the full responsibility of raising and caring for the pet throughout its lifetime; in sickness and in health. Be certain that the pet is something they truly want and not something they just mentioned in passing. Giving a pet as a gift is often a mistake and the pet is the one who suffers by being turned into a shelter or neglected.

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Is there that person in your family whose world revolves around their pets? Why no consider a gift certificate to the pet’s veterinary practice. Why? The person may be struggling financially with their own bills and taking their pet to the vet for vaccinations or when the pet is sick is not something they have in the budget. Suppose that your family member now had a gift certificate to ensure a portion of their pet’s bill would be paid. They would be more inclined to follow through on the required shots or get them treated when they aren’t feeling well or are hurt. For some, they may choose to use the certificate to board their animal so that they can visit with family on special occasions ensuring the pet is well taken care of and fed.

What about a gift certificate to the family member’s hairdresser or barber, the grocery store, a house cleaner, or a landscaper? As the economy gets harder for all of us to make ends meet, any help we can give to those that are struggling will be well appreciated. No one ever wants to be forced into making a decision…especially when that decision deals with foregoing food, grooming needs, giving up the home they love because they can no longer care for it or giving up a pet which has proven to benefit the family member’s health and serves as companionship to them as well.

Though ideas of gift certificates may seem impersonal to some, I know first-hand how much they mean to the individual. I have placed money on my retired mother’s veterinary account for her cat’s treatment at Limerick Veterinary Hospital for over five years. It has allowed my mother to get the cat vaccinated and boarded throughout the year relieving the pressure of how she was going to pay for the bill.

For children who don’t have the money to buy a gift for their parents or grandparents, think about a homemade gift that another family member can help you make, a written promise to do a certain amount of work around the house or a promise to spend time with them without the distractions of cell phones, computers, video games or i-pods. Christmas is a time to make memories with those you love that can never be taken away. Gifts from the heart are very personal and often mean much more to a person than those items we can easily purchase.

Don’t get caught up in the commercialization of the season. Get caught up in the magic of making memories with those you love that will last a lifetime even when those we love have passed on.