The Holidays...Thinking outside of the box?

A friend sent me this forward and I have to say, it sounds pretty great to me. I would love most of these items. I can only have too much "stuff" and generally, all I really need is new photo equipment or something for my pets or food or new tires for the car or a massage (yes, a need and a want!).... If I had more help on the "needs" then I'd probably spend more of my own money on my "wants" like a vacation...hhmm...well, I think that's more a need. Anyway, I have a whole list of local businesses and causes under the "advocate" section above so please look around and when you're shopping for a loved one this season, maybe think beyond video games or gadgets or socks (although I do love a good pair of warm, cozy socks). What are some of your favorites?

And I do have to do my own plug here: Mount Vernon Farm and MJM Photography offer gift about the gift of a unique, personalized portrait?? :)

I know I could certainly add to this list but I think you get the drift.



This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in wrapping paper produce outside the country?


--Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber?


--Gym membership?


--Massage and other bodywork?  Could you imagine a gift certificate with one or more sessions of bodywork?   AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!


---Acupuncture?  Chiropractic?


--How about yoga and pilates sessions --- gift certificates are great for these!!


--How about voice lessons?  Piano and other instruments -- lessons?  How about a gift certificate to a piano tuner?


--How about photography lessons for the up and coming photographer on your list?


--Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed?  Small, American-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.


--Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a gargantuan flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.


--There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.


-- How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a local shop?


--Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.  Is someone you know planning on a holiday party or boatloads of relatives for a holiday dinner?  Have the house cleaned for them BEFORE the event!  They will love you for it and you will put some money into the hands of a probably struggling cleaning service before the holidays which will then circulate back into the economy -- get the idea?


--My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.


--OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.


-- Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip.

--how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre or find a venue showcasing local bands.


--For your animal lovers on your list:  dog training, massage, gift certificate to a holistic vet, gift certificate to doggy daycare, gift certificate to local (NOT chain) pet supply store, grooming gift certificates, pet sitting gift certificates and yes, animal communicator if they want!  And I'm sure you can find someone local who makes dog beds, blankets, collars, treats etc!


--And how about those horse folks in particular?  How about a gift certificate from their farrier?  They ALWAYS need farrier services!


--Home owners??  How about gift certificates to local small business landscaping, carpentry, roofing, chimney cleaning/repair....


--do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community- maybe.  If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.   They could REALLY use it today!


And here are specific recommendations-not in any specific order!!  ;-)


SO....there's still time before the holidays are upon us.  (Birthdays count for this type of gift giving too, ya know).