3. Give a gift of remembrance. Gifts that help us to remember this holiday -- and the people we are sharing it with -- don't have to be big and extravagent to be appreciated. Special ornaments make good gifts, and you don't have to choose the most expensive. If you can sign and date the back of the ornament with a sharp-tipped permanent marker it will bring up happy memories every year. Or, you can make a donation in someone's honor. A gift that keeps on giving. It could be to their favorite charity, a donation to a zoo, where they could be a "foster parent" to an animal they can visit and enjoy. You can even plant a tree for your loved one.
4. Give the gift of organization. Choose a gift that will help your children (or your friends' kids) to keep their rooms neat, rather than adding to the clutter. When we noticed that our children were spending more time tripping over their toys than playing with them, we made a suggestion -- CONTAINERS! Each child now has an underbed storage box for a few of their favorite things.
5. Give the gift of memories. Whether Christmas is spent watching children open gifts or watching the ocean on a tropical vacation, the gift of a camera -- even a nice disposable one -- can really come in handy. Make sure there is enough film and fresh batteries.
6. Give the gift of communication. Want to hear from your family members who live far away? A pre-paid phone card makes a great gift. Available everywhere, these don't require a special shopping trip and slip easily into a card or letter.
Many of these gifts can be done at the very last minute -- even on Christmas Eve. Most of them are a combination of your imagination and items you may already have around the house. Take a good look at the people you are giving to and think about what they really want and enjoy. You will find the best gifts often don't come from the mall!