I'm not going to show you a pretty collage of things that you can buy for every person you've ever met. Most of the time, those things are so impersonal, so I don't like them. EXCEPTION: Funny (on purpose or on accident) gift guides. On Sunday I was flipping through the December issue of Glamour, and in the "For the Man in Your Life" gift-guide section, I saw a gold-plated HATCHET, with the caption: "Svbscription x SS&Co., a subscription service for an array of luxury men's products, like this hatchet ($155)."
I don't know how a hatchet is considered a "luxury men's product," but I did ask Matt if he'd like one, and it made him laugh.
When we lived in Texas, going home for the holidays meant loading up one of our vehicles, driving two or three hours and unloading all the lovely wrapped gifts we'd bought for our families.
Since we moved across the country and all gifts must be stashed in luggage (that we'll have to pay baggage fees to fly), I've been thinking a lot about how we do Christmas gifts, what we've got on our own Christmas lists, and how best to shop for our loved ones.
So here are some of my ideas — a gift guide of sorts — to making that process not take so many suitcases.
Shop online and ship gifts to your destination.
We will be celebrating with various family members on four different occasions over the week of Christmas. Because our first stop will be my parents' house, every time I order a gift online for anyone, I have it shipped to their house with strict instructions not to open the box if it's addressed to me (or, I threaten, I'll have to return all the goodies). I plan to wrap everything up all pretty when we get there, and my mom and sister and I will have a wrap party like we do most every year. (I was careful not to ship any gifts for either of them, so they will still be surprised.) Then, we're borrowing my mom's car to travel to the other celebrations, and we can load up like normal.
I don't know why this one never occurred to me during previous holiday seasons, but now that space is at a premium, I've been thinking about how to give people the gift of their own adventures. Think: gift cards to unique destinations, tickets to cool events, classes for new hobbies or experiences. Listen to your loved ones when they say they've always wanted to learn to play the banjo or go to Coachella or break the world record for biggest flash mob. Help them cross something off their own Life List! Let your creativity fly!
Give to a good cause.
Matt's a better person than I am, and he thought of this one. Instead of giving someone some stuff, why not spend the money on a charity or organization that is close to their heart? There are literally thousands of organizations you can donate to: a local food pantry, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, ASPCA, UNICEF, Kiva, Ronald McDonald House, Room to Read, just to name a few! Whatever your people are passionate about, find a way to give to those causes.
Will you have to travel for Christmas? What are your tips for minimizing the costs of traveling with gifts?