Top 5 Gifts for Anyone
When we were young, my mom didn’t make enough money to keep the utilities connected, so she sure didn’t have any money for birthdays and Christmas. So when my mom found herself penniless on my sister’s birthday one year, it hurt her heart to think that her daughter wouldn’t have any gifts to unwrap. So, my very resourceful mother took a look around the house and knew what she needed to do!
She used paper grocery bags as wrapping paper for the “gifts”. The gifts ended up being things that we already had around the house….like the frying pan, hair brush, etc.
Perhaps it’s because of that experience that made my sister the best gift giver I’ve ever known. Or maybe she stole all the creative family genes, including the “gift of giving” gene. I’ve spent lots of time in awe of her, observing how she does things and I’ve figured out her secrets.
This is seriously the best list of gift guidelines for any budget, even if your budget is zero. It’s also the best list of gifts for any age group.
1. Love Language gifts
I think the most amazing gifts are chosen according to the recipient’s love language. There are 5 Love Languages, and here’s are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing for how to incorporate all the languages into an actual gift:
This is an easy one. Basically it’s thinking of whatever they enjoy doing and doing it with them. For someone whose love language is Quality Time, a little can go a long way. involves setting aside some time to focus on the person. No phones, no couples activity, no kids. If your husband likes to go golfing, schedule a tee time at a golf course and go golfing with them.
For Kids: Pretty much every child craves the undivided attention of a parent, so having a fun day out with Mom is delightful for kids. Make up a list of activities they’d like to choose from to do with you. Or buy tickets to an arts and crafts class, a “Lunch with Mom” gift certificate at a cool place, or a museum that interests them. Then schedule it.
No money? No problem! Make coupons for one-on-one activities that your child can present to you…but also make sure that a couple of those are things they can do immediately with you. In order to make this work, plan to stay at home Christmas day or evening so you can spend some time focusing on your child. So throw in some easy to accomplish at home coupons like “baking cookies with Mom” that you can do the day of Christmas.
Acts of service:
This one involves some action and time on your part. It’s the time and effort you put into the task that is impactful. Maybe just handling the planning and coordinating of a necessary task that they don’t like to do is enough. But actually doing a special task to help take the weight off of your loved one’s shoulders is great. This can involve preparing a favorite gourmet meal, organizing the garage, washing the vehicles…the possibilities are endless. But it also doesn’t have to be big things.
My sister sometimes does little tiny acts of service for her husband that are completely comical but still impactful, and they put a smile on her husband’s face….things like putting toothpaste on his toothbrush for him.
Honestly, I haven’t tried that one because my husband would think I scrubbed the toilet with the toothbrush if he sees that I’ve moved it.
For kids: organizing their room, or decorating their room, coordinating a sleepover party with them.
Words of Affirmation:
My husband has it easy. He can get away with giving me gifts year-round without spending one dime. All he has to do is write me a heart-felt letter pouring out his deepest feelings for me. Of course, for him it’s easier just to go buy a present. Ha!!
But for someone whose love language is Words of Affirmation, a note telling them why you think they’re so wonderful can really go a long way with scoring points. If you want to get a little more fancy than a piece of paper, consider framing it.
Or, there are plenty of gifts in stores that have expressions written on them which can convey how you feel about someone. They’ll be able to look at it everyday. Another option is creating a custom quote for the person. If you’re not crafty, then that’s what Board & Brush created sign workshops for!
For Kids: Each year, keep a journal, jotting down some sweet notes about them every week. Give the journal to them for Christmas each year.
Here’s another love language that is easy to please without spending any money towards. All it takes are a pair of hands without arthritis! Giving a foot or back massage, a back scratch, brushing through hair, etc. is a dream come true for someone whose love language is physical touch. A coupon book full of 10 minute massages seriously would be all it takes for someone with this love language to feel loved.
But of course if you want to spend some money on the gift of massage, there are plenty of options. My husband gifted me two one-hour massages one year. And the best part is that the massage therapist CAME TO OUR HOUSE!!! So I didn’t even have to leave my home to experience his gift!
For Kids: A coupon book filled with hugs, a homemade mask peel, nail painting, back scratches, etc.
Okay, this one seems a little redundant! For someone whose love language is “gifts”, you can make their Christmas extra special by giving them a small gift everyday in December leading up to Christmas, kind of like how I’d imagine a customized advent calendar wo9uld work. The gifts don’t have to be big or expensive…more like little stocking stuffer gifts that let you know you’re thinking of them.
For Kids: An actual advent calendar is so much fun for kiddos! Fill it up.
2. Gifts of Tradition
Gifts that create a sense of tradition is one of the best ways to carry on your legacy as a parent. Your kids will think of you whenever they come across something that reminds them of the tradition long after you’re gone. They’ll pass down the tradition to their own children also. Maybe it’s something as simple as a creating a signature family handshake, or creating shapes out of the clouds. Or it could be a traditional family dinner…like prime rib at Christmas (that’s our Christmas family tradition).
My sister does this in many forms. One gift is giving an annual Christmas ornament. Cute ornaments can be very inexpensive, yet a fun an meaningful gift.
For Kids: Let them decide what they want to do to create a family tradition.
3. Family Heirloom Gifts
My son says this is the best gift he’s ever received because it’s a family heirloom.
One year I didn’t have much money for gifts. But that was okay because I gave my son the best gift he said he had ever received. It was something in our garage that I had to wipe the dust off. During the Vietnam War era, my uncle had gotten a hand made chess set from Hong Kong and gave it to my father. Well, I had inherited the chess set, but it was just collecting dust in the garage.
So when I cleaned it and wrapped it up for Christmas, my son had no idea. He loves family heirlooms, so when he unwrapped this gift, he didn’t care how old it was…all he cared about was that he now had a great family heirloom. Oh, and he loves chess, so that helped a lot too!
It makes my heart happy knowing that he plays chess on the same set that I learned how to play chess on as a little girl.
4. DIY gifts
It doesn’t take much. You can actually make a gift out of items you find at a thrift store or in your pantry. The possibilities are endless. But one of my favorite gifts is having someone’s favorite pictures printed in black and white (because everything has a cool factor in black and white) and framing them. Easy peasy, and customized.
My mom used to make homemade loaves of bread to give as gifts to her friends for Christmas, which was amazing. So remember…if you have a favorite recipe, you may want to spend some time in the kitchen to deliver the give of YUM to your friends!
5. Scavenger Hunt Gifts
Why not add to the excitement of Christmas morning by making your loved one hunt for their gift? A sort of scavenger hunt around the house is a way to add fun and make the gift have more of an impact. One clue leads to another.
When you’re actually opening a gift, you really don’t tend to remember tearing off every little bit of wrapping paper. It just gets thrown away anyway, so opening gifts tends to become a mindless, unmemorable task.
When you make them go on a hunt for a gift, they spend time trying to figure out where the next clue is located. And photographing or videoing the search party looking for the gift just adds to the fun. Fun memories for years to come!
BONUS: Reminder Gifts
This ties into the story about when my mom didn’t have enough money to buy my sister anything for her birthday. I’ve always thought that we need to be grateful for what we already have as a reminder that the best “things” in life aren’t “things” at all.
So, why not try wrapping up some items that your loved one already owns, and tell them the story of the mother who didn’t have any money but made sure her daughter had plenty of gifts to unwrap.