It's so hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner and we have to start thinking about gift giving to family and friends. Now is the time to start grabbing those items on sale at the stores. We find that the most meaningful gifts are those that have been given with some thought. Consider the hobbies and collections of your family members. I remember last year that all the ladies here were wearing special Pandora charm bracelets that our local jewelry stores were advertising. All of my sons gave me a special charm, which was just so meaningful to me. I knew they had taken extra time to select something special for Mom.  

But remember that handmade and creative presents are often the most meaningful. A child's handwritten drawing or a creative poem written by your husband can be "keepers."  But you need to start early on these items, as they take time to construct. Some really nice suggestions include: 

Framed Affection: Frame a photo of your spouse or child in a blank photo mat. Then surround the photo with written compliments, all of those sweet things that go unnoticed. 

A Special Song: Create a song for a family member, if you have musical talent, and perform it for your family.

 Caring Services: Give him a gift certificate for chores you will do for him such as cleaning up the kitchen, washing the car, taking out the trash, etc. Surprise your children with the same gift idea. 

Prayer Journal: Keep a handwritten prayer journal for your family and friends and share the requests that you have made for them throughout the year. What a blessing to know that you are prayed for. 

Personal Lessons: Share your talents and skills. Teach your spouse or child how to bake a special dish or dessert, or how to knit or sew. 

Personal Vase: One of the nicest gifts I ever received from a coworker was a beautiful, plain rose vase with all kinds of special sayings glued onto it. My friend had searched through all kinds of magazines and materials and chosen special words that related just to me, such as gardening, choir, Chihuahuas, grandchildren, handbags, shoes, etc. Well, it was just so personal because everything she had glued onto the vase was me!! It was a hoot just looking all over the vase for the next word. Only a good friend who knows you well could give such a gift. Since then, I have made several of these to give as birthday and Christmas gifts and they are always such a hit. Remember you do not have to use a vase. Other items can be a small tray, jug, or other piece of pottery. After the clippings are glued, you have to paint over the item with clear varnish to waterproof it.  

Scrapbooking: We just finished a scrapbooking class and many of the ladies are saving their books to give to their children and grandchildren for Christmas gifts. This is an item that you must start early, as it can take months to assemble all the photos and label all the pages with artwork. But what a fantastic keepsake for a family member to have that holds so many memories of wonderful times spent together. 

Well, it's time to get started putting that list together, as the time quickly passes. The holidays will be upon us before we know it! 

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Linda Reese

Linda is a contributing writer for the Retired & Loving it blog. Linda is retired, married, and enjoying her retirement in a retirement community in Florida. She shares her experiences with others who are facing retirement or already there with posts on living on a fixed income, budgeting, and healthcare issues. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

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