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For those who are in a nursing home or already have "everything", I have found that a great gift to give is a calendar made at CVS or Walgreens of photos that are meaningful to that person. My parents enjoy their yearly one that contains photos of all their grand-kids.
For each month, I find a photo from years past that are fitting for that month. For example, the grand kids building a snowman for January, kids in costume for October, and past Christmas photos for December. You can also get the calendar in an 18-month version, which works well for someone who has a birthday or anniversary during the summer months, as it runs from Jan to July of the following year.
Another great idea is to give gift cards that you yourself make that give of yourself, your time, and talents. We have given them in 12 packs, one for each month. Some months the coupon is good for dinner at our home, or for us to take the person out to eat. Others are good for chores such as cleaning out the gutters or changing smoke alarm batteries (and we provide the batteries also). These are great for an older person who lives at home and has no business on a ladder. Other great ideas are coupons to detail their car, clean out the garage, paint a room of the house, or to go on an outing to one of their favorite antique stores or museum.
Other ideas for giving to those who are on a fixed budget could include paying for one month of their cable/dish or trash bill, a gift card for their pharmacy or grocery store, or a card for their favorite hairdresser or barber shop.
With times as tough as they are, this year we are really trying to focus our gift giving on items that we know people really need or want that they can not afford right now, instead of another pair of slippers or a sweater.
By mom-from-missouri from NW MO
I've always had a hard time giving to people who have the money to buy anything they want or for people who just have it all. Last year, apart from giving my mom the usual homemade stuff, I gave her a $10 gift card so she can give to any organization she wants! In Canada you can purchase them at http://www.canadahelps.org/ and in the US it's http://www.justgive.org/. All you do is go on the website and select to give a gift certificate, purchase the amount you want then it gets emailed to the recipient or you can print out a gift card and give it to them in an envelope. My mom said she had a great time trying to find a smaller organization in her community to give to and felt really good about it. I like this idea because the recipient gets involved too!
By Lisa from Halifax
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I have a friend who literally has everything. As an aside I knew her back then, when she scrubbed toilets and rented a room. Times changed though. She and her husband live in a 10K mansion.
She and her husband have an annual holiday party. We attended it last week. It was incredible as always. Some guests brought wine, candy, and flowers. I would like to send them something a bit different. My thank-you note is on the way, but any ideas would be appreciated.
By Chris A.
Why not do something other than a gift such as flowers? You say that your friend has "everything", and that you knew her when times were hard. Why not make a donation to a local charity such as the Salvation Army in your city in honor of your friend? You friend may well appreciate that more than "yet another bottle of wine."
Do you have any pics of you two from the past? That could be a fun time to make a creative photo frame along with it. Add matchbooks from your favorite restaurants, quotes, etc. Something cheap and fun would be to get a signed autograph from her favorite celeb (they are usually free) and frame that for her.