The Gift-Giving Time of Year

It feels like so many people I know were born nine months after February. I wonder why…
   November is a huge birthday month, and Christmas is hot on its heels. In between travel expenses, birthday dinners, and obligatory family outings, it can be hard to find money for gifts. This is quite problematic for me.
   I happen to LOVE gifts. So much meaning and history can be expressed in one gift, whether it cost you an entire paycheck or absolutely nothing. My personal favorite gift to give is the one that just jumps out at you, that stares you down in the mall or the boutique or from your computer screen and is irrefutably the one. I often go overboard buying things for others, spending more than I would on that item if I were buying it for myself, and for the most part I firmly believe that’s okay, but when you’re strapped for cash, the combo hit of November and December can really put a dent in your budget.
   So, it’s time to get creative. There are so many things you can do for someone that are meaningful not because you spent a lot of money, but because you went the extra mile. For example, a cup of coffee doesn’t mean much on its own, but when it’s hand delivered outside that person’s first class on the morning of their birthday with a little bow on top, it’s suddenly awesome. Here are some other ideas for random acts of birthday kindness:

Bake cookies, brownies, or muffins and bring them to the birthday person’s door.
– If they’re far away, don’t just post on their Facebook wall, mail a card, and make sure you write something meaningful. Bonus: throw in some stickers or a photo.
Buy trinkets you know the birthday kid likes and hide them in places you know they’ll be found. I did this with HotWheels cars for an ex-boyfriend and it was a lot of fun.
– Buy them that one little thing they’ve been needing to buy but have just never gotten around to it. Think back, you know they’ve mentioned it. For me, it’s pens. I never seem to have one when I need it!
Flowers. It’s clichĂ©, but as much as a single bud with a card will make anyone smile.  

Above all, be personal. There’s buying someone flowers, and then there’s buying someone their favorite flowers. There’s a card, and then there’s a card with a handwritten message. Even if you can buy something, don’t just buy a gift, buy something personal. Gifts are nice, but gifts that show how much someone knows you are much better because they let you know you’re worth knowing. Sorry guys, but it really is the thought that counts.

P.S. I’m sure anyone who’s read this blog has wondered if I’m going to change its name when I inevitably turn 20. Check back with me on November 16th!

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