Gift giving

The holidays are here and it’s the time to think about ideas for gift giving.

We are 33 days away from Christmas. Let’s hope you are well into your gift shopping, but don’t fret if you aren’t. I have some ideas that will hopefully make it easier on you.

I recently gave my Organizing for the Holidays presentation at two libraries. It is always good for me to review my own great ideas about gift giving.

If you are at a complete loss of what to buy everyone on your list, let me suggest a gift-giving theme.

What I mean is select a theme and base your gift giving off of that. My aunt has 20-plus grandchildren and many years ago she told me how she would select a theme each year to help simplify her gift giving to her grandchildren.

One year the theme was the movies. Her grandchildren ranged in age from toddlers up to college age. That year the toddlers received DVDs of their favorite Disney movies and the teens received gift cards to the movie theater.

Each gift was wrapped with a package of microwave popcorn and a couple boxes of candy. Another year the theme was flannel pajama pants. Not only did each grandchild get a pair of them, but she made them herself.

Some other suggestions for themes might be books, where everyone on your list will get a book — maybe the same book or a book that interests them.

You could choose a cookbook, a DIY book or a novel by their favorite author.

You might have people in your lives that you would like to give a gift to, but they can afford whatever they want to buy themselves and really do not need anything.

This is when donations to charitable causes that are meaningful to them come into play.

My Dad is very involved in a Knights of Columbus Bike Project, where they take donations of bikes, repair them, then donate them to people that might not have a way to get to work, or a family that is in need.

Several years ago, I started writing a check to the bike project and gave it to my dad. He was so happy to receive it and the bike project would use the funds for buying parts to repair the bikes.

These donations are what I would call clutter-free gift giving.

I recently received a catalog in the mail for Heifer International. An organization that is working to end poverty and hunger around the world. You can check out their gift catalog online. The gift of a sheep, heifer or a flock of chickens for a family.

“When you donate a gift in honor of someone, we’ll help you create a free honor card after your donation is complete. It’s a great way to let your family and friends know about the impact of the gift you made in their name,” states

Finally, the gift of time is endless. Spend time preparing and sharing a meal with an elderly family member once a week or month. Offering babysitting services to a young couple for a date night once a month.

Helping someone with chores or housework is a great gift of time and would be so appreciated.

Think twice about your gift giving and see if you can simplify it this year.

Beth Randall, of Illinois, is a professional speaker and professional organizer. She can be reached through the Daily Journal at