Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Holiday Gift-Giving: Thinking Outside the (Gift) Box

We’ve spent most of the week talking
about holiday gift ideas – shopping suggestions for both mom
and baby (and the occasional Dad gift thrown in as well!)

But what do you do if the holidays are breathing down your neck,
and the wallet’s a bit empty? Or where do you turn for gift
ideas for the family that truly has everything? Let’s dig

First off, let me say that homegrown
gifts, whether they’re something homemade or a gift of time
or talent, are some of my favorite gifts to get. So don’t be
shy, and don’t feel bad if you’re turning crafty this
season. Second, I use the word “crafty” with great
trepidation. This blog isn’t about becoming Martha Stewart;
you won’t find any 12-page instructions for making pom-pom
snowmen. If you’re that kind of crafty, you don’t need
my blog. Head off to Hobby Lobby, and God Bless you.

But if you’re not a natural homemade gift kind of person and
you’re searching for creative ideas, I can help.

When trying to stay in the “low-to-free” cost range,
don’t pretend you’re giving something “just like
store-bought”. Your sister won’t love the sweater you
made because it looks like the one she saw in Bloomingdale’s;
she’ll love it because you made it. So think about areas of
your life that are meaningful to you, areas you like sharing with
other people, for gift inspirations. The other place to turn for
giving ideas is the person you are giving to – what do you
have to offer that’s unique, personal, and will help that
person out a lot in a way a new wine-bottle-opener never will?

It’s no secret that I love to cook. No, wait, scratch that. I
like to cook, and I LOVE to bake. So every year I bake a kitchenful
of goodies to give to our friends. Jelly we’ve made over the
year, candy and cookies for those with sweet tooths, chex mixes or
nut mixes for those with salty tooths, I make something for
everyone and everyone at least pretends to like it.

If you want to go beyond that, though, I’ve got you covered.
A friend of mine always appreciates it when I present her with a
batch of her favorite cookie dough in a tub, frozen and ready to
cook at a moment’s notice. This is also a great gift for moms
who don’t have a lot of time for bake sales! And if you want
to get more practical than desserts, give a friend who is either
time- or cooking-challenged a subscription to the “casserole
of the month” club. Once a month, make double for your
evening meal, freeze half, and deliver. She’ll pop it in the
oven when she needs a last-minute life-saver and be grateful every

Still along the cooking lines, you can pull together a family
recipe book. Ask everyone to give their favorite or famous recipes,
type them up, and laminate. If you’re not lucky enough (a
tragedy, in my obsessive-compulsive mind) to have a laminator, head
to Office Depot where they’ll laminate and ring-bind the
whole thing for a couple bucks. You’ll have a splatter-proof
recipe book to give everyone, a gift they’ll use again and

Now that I mention it, there’s not a lot you can’t do
with a laminator. Put together a photo collage of long-distance
relatives, laminate, and baby’s got an instant placemat. Or
laminate individual photos, bind, and you’ve created a cheap
brag book for a grandparent. The world is your laminating oyster!

By far, though, the best gift you can give a fellow parent is the
gift of time. Give a friend a coupon for babysitting and a bottle
of wine, and they have an instant date night. If you’ve got a
friend who’s expecting, give coupons for free
“laundry” service – pick up, wash, and return
within 24 hours. She’ll be hysterical with gratitude when the
time comes. The bottom line is, you don’t have to spend money
to give someone a meaningful gift they’ll really appreciate.

If all the talk of gift-giving makes you feel too crass and
commercial and you’re still searching for a way to
“gift” the friend who has everything, there’s a
great solution – charitable giving.

Now I know a lot of you are rolling your eyes right now, but hear
me out. No one likes to give to charity as a gift because the
person has nothing to unwrap; it’s so intangible, and often
sounds like a cheesy copout. But you can find some charities that
will either have a lot of meaning to your friend, or will show
tangible results for your financial donation.

My all-time favorite charity for gift donations is target="_blank" href="http://www.worldvision.org">World
. They’re a Christian relief and development
organization dedicated to helping children and their communities
worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of
poverty. World Vision helps children and families in poverty
regardless of their religious beliefs, and comes into the
communities in a very grass-roots way. They dig wells, build
schools, provide seeds and teach people to farm, and so on.

One of the coolest things about this organization is their
gift catalog
”. You can go in and decide exactly
how your money’s going to be spent, which means you can
tailor your gift to suit the person on whose behalf you’re
donating. Have a friend who’s a doctor? Donate target="_blank"
infant immunizations for one child. Give your
child’s teacher a href="http://donate.wvus.org/OA_HTML/xxwvibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?section=10056&item=238">
backpack full of school supplies
for a child in poverty.
Know someone who loves to garden? Donatehref="http://donate.wvus.org/OA_HTML/xxwvibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?section=10120&item=1445806">
farming tools
– plus the training to use them. The
gift recipient will receive a gift card explaining exactly where
the financial gift is going and what it’s doing. I’ve
never failed to see the recipient truly touched by the gift.

You can, of course, go to any charitable organization to give.
There are some wonderful ones out there that help new moms in
poverty, inner city school kids, and more – simply look to
where your passion (or that of your friend’s) lies and go
from there.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to
give gifts that will be truly meaningful, and you don’t have
to fill someone’s house up with what will quickly become next
year’s clutter.

Think outside the box.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.