What’s love got to do with … gifts?

Are your loved ones impossible to buy for, either because of a tightening budget or fussiness?

How about you is it the thought that counts or the cost?

I dont want to encourage another economic crisis by starting a movement away from obligatory gift-giving but I do want to suggest that we all look at where we want the emphasis to be during the end of the year holidays.

If youre committed to buying gifts for folks, consider a couple of options for unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind items from craftspeople. Check out:

Etsy.com Custommade.com Artfire.com Folkartmavens.com

Keep in mind, though, that only a Scrooge would be disappointed by the gift of an experience.

Its not sappy new-age gibberish to declare that YOU are always the most precious thing you have to share.

If youve been on the planet for more than a week, you know what its like to lose something. And when that something is actually someone, theres nothing that can replace them.

We may fall in love again, we may make a new best friend, we may get or become a new boss at a new job, but people are irreplaceable. Like walking, talking, thinking, feeling Mona Lisas, theres only one of her and theres only one of you.

So what do you do that no one else does quite like you? What do you enjoy that sharing it with someone else would increase your joy and expose them to a piece of yourself they may not often get to see?

Where are your favorite places to visit? Would you make a good tour guide?

We all have life expertise that we tend to take for granted.

Sometimes sharing our most personal gifts makes for the best kind of sharing. These gifts are not often expensive, but like the commercial says, are priceless for the impact they can have on our lives and the lives of those we love.

Maybe its inviting your loved ones to a unique outing to something they would never do without you, like attending a poetry slam or a comedy club, or skydiving!

I loved fishing with my dad, not because I loved fishing so much, but because it was a time when I had his undivided attention. And away from the day to day pressures of life, he was a much gentler teacher than when we were fixing the car in the garage.What about something youre passionate about or something they would never do without your help, like finally cleaning out the attic or sorting through years of photographs still waiting to be scrapbooked, or patiently sitting down to sort out that paperwork mess you know they need help with?

If youre still breathing, you have something special to contribute to the lives of those you care about.

To make it extra-special and give you the chance to express your creativity, make some fun gift certificates — they’ll make your commitment to sharing time real and tangible for the recipient. It doesnt matter whether you assemble a complicated, arty collage or a simple computer print-out, in this case it really is the thought that counts.And remember that whenever possible, the idea is to do something WITH them, not just FOR them. Shared experiences create the strongest memories.

And those are the best gifts of all.

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