Out of the Box Gift Ideas

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thoughtful gifts

no wrapping required.  

Not able to spoil everyone near and far with things this year? The old saying 'it's the thought that counts' truly brings it home. We asked our contributing team and readers to share unique gift ideas that they've given or have been gifted.

 

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Host an All-in-One Gathering

During the holidays I struggle to remember what friends I exchange gifts with and which ones I can skip. I love them all, but it's just not practical for me or my bank account to give something to everyone. This year, I decided I would throw a girls night for 15 of my closest girlfriends, complete with warm soup, cheese, and lots of drinks - my gift to them (and my gift to myself as I love hosting). We will also do a white elephant gift exchange, that way we don't all feel the need to gift each other. This night will be my way of letting them know I'd be no where without them this year. - Jillian Greenberg


 
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We like to donate to a cause our recipient is passionate about, in their name.
— Mia Whitney
When I’m feeling especially nice (or if it’s his birthday), I love to cook my husband one of his favorite meals!
— Leslie

Encourage a family outing.

I'm terrible at gifting but my sister is a professional at giving affordable, thoughtful gifts year round. One of the best gifts we've received from her (aside from all of her sons' hand-me-downs) is an annual membership to our local zoo and museums. Fortunately, they fall under one umbrella company, so we can visit a variety of attractions. We couldn't appreciate the memories she's given our family more. - Juley Le

 

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Send customized vitamins.

I gifted my friend a month's subscription to Care/of! He's been getting the cold/flu so often lately which is out of the norm, so I thought maybe he could use some extra vitamins and supplements. You can personalize the daily packets for them too! - Thu Nguyen

 Photo credit: Julien Garman

Photo credit: Julien Garman


Gift a musical experience.

Remember the holiday magic that was Hugh Grant awkwardly shuffling around his bedroom to the Pointer Sisters in Love Actually?  On the weekends, my parents would jump start our mornings in similar fashion, by dialing up the volume on the stereo for a full fledge dance party in the living room. We would jump out of bed, scurry down the stairs, and all meet on the dance floor. Mom played DJ, and Dad would dutifully twirl each of his girls across the living room. It was a regular tradition that when friends slept over it’s what they looked forward to the most. 

The tradition continued in college with my roommates in our tiny dorm room, and thanks to a Spotify account, now in my own home with my husband (although that took a lot of coaxing at first).  With Spotify Premium for Family, you can create individual accounts. Everyone can play the music they like, so when it’s their turn to play DJ they can cue up their favorite playlist.  I love the idea of a Spotify subscription as a gift because music in a home is a happy home. - Maryam Autry


 Photo credit:  Spell Designs

Photo credit: Spell Designs

Host a holiday movie night

For my local friends, I like to host a Christmas movie party. Everyone brings her favorite Christmas cookies and we sip champagne cocktails while watching a few of our old favorites. (Admittedly, we usually just end up gabbing while a movie plays in the background.) December can feel like a mad dash to the finish line – getting all our work done and gifts purchased before traveling to see friends and family. But I like having this on my calendar every year to make myself slow down and enjoy festive fun with friends. - Olivia Cooper of A Dash of This Blog