The Heart of the Holiday Season: Alternative Gift Giving Guide

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Lights are strung, flights are booked, and the stores are selling gifts like hotcakes. We have definitely hit the heart of the holiday season. Some have all of their gifts wrapped and ready, and some haven’t even begun to hustle and bustle through the busy stores. Of course, with a very successful cyber Monday, there’s a good chance most of us have at least a few gifts tucked away. While it can be a very fun experience buying gifts for those we love, it can also be hard.

One of the challenges with gift giving is what to get for each person. What a particular child may have liked the year before may not cut the mustard this year. Also, many gifts that used to be able to be wrapped in brown paper with a big red bow are now most conveniently purchased electronically. Think music, movies, and games. Many are available to stream right to your device. No need for bows. Of course, time and cost are also big factors when it comes to holiday shopping blues.

For most, regardless of which holiday is observed, gifts are a part of the holidays. Sometimes thinking of non-traditional ways to gift offers a little relief and may encourage some good old creativity.

  • Themed white elephant, must be homemade – always fun for a party, offers a good time with low expense. Plus, the activity alone is what makes this holiday classic so much fun for all!
  • Find your niche. Are you a baker? knitter? face mask extraordinaire? There are many DIY recipes and ideas online today. If you find the right packaging, you may have the ticket to a wonderful homemade gift. Also, this can often be very cost efficient and unique. Think lavender vanilla oatmeal face scrub. Peanut butter fudge. Beanie with a bow. This idea may be my very favorite.
  • Custom poem might do. If you have the gift of a good rhyme, perhaps you could create a custom poem for those that you love. If everyone is so inclined, maybe they could read them aloud for all to hear.
  • A date. Sometimes the ones we care about don’t really want our gifts, but rather, our time. If you are not sure what to get someone, perhaps a date and a time will suffice. You could even get creative and write it out like a little redeemable coupon. “One Movie and Ice Cream with Aunt J”. Perfect!
  • A holiday banquet. The holidays are known for rich delicious foods and a lot of them. With a large family gathering in one place, perhaps the focus can be around each person’s culinary ability to create a masterpiece. It could even be themed. Bring a dish to share, but make sure it includes something chocolate! Oh what fun!

Whatever your traditions are, let the holidays happen on your own accord. You never know what new ones are just around the corner waiting to be born!

Jessie Marchese is a native San Diegan with love for health, wellness and good eats. See her lifestyle blog here: She can be reached at

Writer, painter, hiker, foodie, and lover of all things fabulous! Be sure to check out my lifestyle blog at

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