HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
December 18, 2006, Herald Journal

Practical gift ideas


I thought I’d jot down some good gift ideas for Christmas. Most of the ideas are common, but I hope some of them help.

I must say, the invention of gift cards is saving time, running, and returns, as well as making the recipients very happy or at least somewhat happy.

The key is to choose a vendor that the recipient frequents often. However, there is a fine line to walk in this mindset.

Adults frequent gas stations often. Some frugal adults or possibly college students may be ecstatic to receive a gift card from a gas station, but others may be a little disappointed.

How about those hard-to-shop-for farmers? Some may kiss you on the lips if they were to receive a gift card to their favorite feed supply store, and some may wonder what you were smoking when you purchased such a gift.

The ideas are as follows:

For parents/grandparents

• framed family photos

• warm wear (thick socks, gloves,


• grocery store gift card

• restaurant gift card

• fresh, baked goods

• department store gift card

• fruit box or monthly fruit club,

cookie club or flower club

• books

• movie theatre tickets

For significant others

• comfy clothes, warm, fuzzy


• warm winter gloves, and hat

• spa day complete with massage

(men and women like massages)

• plan a night out, nice restaurant,

see a show or game, maybe spend

the night in a hotel in the cities

• love note

For kids

• kid magazine subscription

• movie theatre tickets

• board games, puzzles, books

• sleds, ice skates, snow shoes

• Valleyfair or zoo passes

• ski passes

• start a nativity collection, give

one piece per year

• plastic block forms that create

snow igloos or forts

One other thing I like to do is get those chocolate countdown calendars for my kids late in November. I had them as a kid, and have fond memories of them.

The calendar starts with Dec. 1, and the kids get to open a flap each day until Christmas that has a little piece of chocolate hiding behind it. Each child should have their own calendar; they’re inexpensive enough.


A borrowed kid-ism. A mom bought a new Christmas outfit for a party. When her 10 year-old-boy saw her, he said, “Wow, mom, you look like a hundred bucks!”

The mom thought about this, and when she added it up, the outfit did cost about 100 bucks.