If you’re looking for a way to put the joy back into the holidays or want your gift-giving to be more memorable, here are a few ideas for inspiration: 

  1. Give gifts secretly to those in need. St. Nicholas (the inspiration for Santa Claus) gave gifts to others secretly. Anonymously mailing a box with a DVD, hot chocolate or tea, popcorn and comfy pajamas to a friend battling illness or going through a stressful life event can bring joy.
  2. Attach a ball of string. Do you have one big gift you’re not sure how to wrap such as a bike? Buy a ball of yarn or twine and tie one end to the gift then wind the yarn throughout the house and place the ball of yarn under the tree. The recipient must follow the yarn to find their gift.
  3. Give an experience. Instead of giving a physical present, give an experience you can enjoy with your friend or loved one. Some ideas include going to a special concert, festival or play, taking an overnight trip, or doing something the person has always wanted to try such as sky-diving, zip-lining, or horse-back riding.
  4. Plan a scavenger hunt. Want to make the gift-opening last longer or bring more excitement to it? Create a scavenger hunt for one or more of your gifts. Wrap the first clue and have each clue lead to the next until finally the last clue gives the location of the gift.
  5. Host a “Sub for Santa Party”. Instead of a gift exchange or white elephant gift, assign each friend or family member things to buy for a family in need, then at the party, wrap the gifts and deliver them.
  6. Creatively “wrap” cash. Sometimes the gift that helps the most is plain old cash. Don’t just stick money in an envelope, be creative. Wrap a box of wadded up dollar bills. Fill a sandcastle bucket with sand and place money sticking out of the top with a sign that says, “To help you build your dream castle/life.” Put cash inside a pizza box with a sign that says, “You can’t live on pizza alone … you also need a little dough.”