Rethinking Holidays: Revolution Gift Idea #4 | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

November 4, 2009

Rethinking Holidays: Revolution Gift Idea #4

Rethinking Holidays

This is a part 2 to the last Revolution Gift Idea, Gift Idea #3: Quality Time. In the previous Gift Idea post, I discussed the idea of giving the gift of quality time: spending time with people you love. This could mean setting up a weekly date night with your spouse, a weekly running date with your best pal, a monthly game night with family friends, or a recurring visit over dessert with a family member. For some, it was a strange idea to wrap their minds around: not having a tangible gift to give. And what if you just didn't have the time, during the season of your life, to give that Quality Time?

This brings me to this week's gift:

Revolution Gift Idea #4:
Quality Time, (Part II)

This is a gift I have given to several people in my life the past few years. It does require spending some money (but this CAN be done inexpensively). It also requires some thinking and creativity on your part, but does NOT require craftiness (unless you want it to).

While it is great to give the gift of yourself/quality time, as explained in the Part I, sometimes, the greater gift is giving people the gift of quality time WITH THEMSELVES (or their families). In the craziness of life (or the crush of the economy), some people don't give themselves the time to relax by themselves or spend quality time with their families. Some just can't afford it.

What better way to celebrate the season than to give people the ability to...CELEBRATE? This can be done in tons of ways, and can accommodate 1 person/single people, a couple or a family. It's really flexible and LOTS of fun.

An example of Quality Time Part II taken from my own life: I have several families in my life with small children. One year I just could NOT think of something to give them. I was daunted, at the time, by the thought of buying each person in those families an individual gift. Yet, I did not want to be impersonal by just getting any old gift card. Thus the idea of the Family Night gift basket was born.

In a wicker basket, I compiled the following items: A small gift card to a fast-food eating establishment (such as McDonalds or Pizza Hut), a boxed brownie mix, 2 or 3 bags of popcorn and a small gift card to a video rental store (such as Blockbuster). The gift cards were just enough to get them a take-out dinner for one night and to rent 1 movie. So, essentially, I was giving them dinner, dessert and a movie (with snacks). I wrote a small letter explaining that these items were to be used together to create a Family Night. Every one in the family HAD to be present to complete the Night.

The following year, I did a similar gift basket, but gifted a Family Game Night. I included the dinner gift card, a bagged cookie mix, snacks and a board game that everyone in the family could play together.

It was a small gesture, and an inexpensive one at that. But you are equipping people to make memories with the ones they love. That is thoughtful and heartfelt!

(NOTE: this is one of the few exceptions to my feelings toward using "impersonal" gift cards. I wanted to clarify, because I know I have spoken pretty harshly on the use of gift cards. I think this is one way to make a gift card PERSONAL (which is what we are aiming for). This gift requires thought and creativity. Find solace that while it does involve gift cards, you are not mindlessly going to any store and picking one up. The GC is a smaller part of a larger gift. In it's complete form, all the pieces work together to form something special. ALSO - sometimes, a gift card in and of itself IS personal when given to someone who cannot otherwise treat themselves [example: wants to buy new clothes and cannot afford to, so you give them a gift card to Gap]. Hear me say it: gift cards aren't evil - but should be atleast THOUGHTFUL and as personal as possible. End Note.)

The possibilities are endless, if you let your mind be adventurous. Here are a few more ideas (some of which I have used, others I am excited to create!!):

1. Christmas Morning Breakfast Basket: For an individual, couple or family. Fill a wicker basket with any combination of bagels, cream cheese, pancake mix, fruit, jams and jellies, scones, donuts, teas, coffee and a bottle or carton of juice. If you can drop off the gift to the recipient(s) the day before Christmas (or whichever holiday you are celebrating), throw in a package of bacon or sausage and eggs.

2. Spa Day: This is best for an individual. Give the gift of relaxation by giving your friend a spa gift certificate. Whether you can only afford to cover a haircut or you can spoil your friend with a day of beauty, it will be a thoughtful gift for someone who never gets to treat themselves!

3. Adventure Day: For an individual, couple or family. Do you have people in your life who like to live adventurously? Grab a gift card to the local rock climbing gym or an outdoor store (such as EMS) that rents canoes and kayaks. Couple this with a certificate to a nearby pizzeria for a day of fun and food!

4. Dinner and a Movie: Great for a couple (but also works for individuals and families). Simple and classic. Gift cards to a local movie theater and a nearby restaurant. Locally, there is an AMC across from a Carrabba's. Another movie theatre is localted in the same center as a Chiles. This is especially good for people who don't have the money to treat themselves, or for parents who never take time to go out withOUT the kids!

5. Healthy Minds and Bodies: Give the gift of health! Many of the local fitness centers give gift cards. Others may have never been approached, and would happily take on the idea if asked. Whether it be the local YMCA or an individually-owned studio (such as Love 2 Be Fit in Chester Springs, PA), give the gift of a 3-month membership. If that is a daunting financial commitment, give a small gift card that will enable them to start the process of applying. For families with small children, consider giving the gift of a membership to a Mommy and Me or a Gymboree class. To turn this into a gift basket, buy some inexpensive weights, work out videos, a pilates ball, resistance bands, etc.

I'm sure there are plenty more, and I'd be happy to hear (AND POST) your suggestions! What Gifts of Quality Time ideas do YOU have?

Check back next Wednesday for Revolution Gift Idea #5!


  1. Love all your ideas and we have done similar things in the past. For my brother most recently, we got him a gift card to a restaurant and told him he was to go with his wife and have a couples night out and we would watch their baby for them - so the gift was a night out WITH free competent babysitting.

    My nephew was recently baptized and I got him an inscribed photo album from Wendel August - I then filled it partway with letters of love and support from me, my husband and even my son (he put in stickers!:)) and allowed his mommy to fill up the rest as she saw fit.

    Another one I have done is to give a bed and breakfast weekend. This was pricey, but it was for my brother's wedding, and he has done a lot for me.

    This year's giant gift that will cover many holidays is also very pricey but really, a gift from the heart - I am taking my mom to Paris with me for a week. She has never been and the woman has gone to hell and back for me. This may be the only chance she will ever get to see the City of Lights. :)

    As far as little stuff goes, though, I love the basket idea. There was a time when my brother was always out and about, and I got him "a night in" - basically 3-4 videos, bag of popcorn and a quiet night.

    Thanks for the multitude of ideas, Steph! I love reading them.


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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