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Holiday Gifts with Lasting Impact

If you’re not a fan of one-use or disposable gifts (like buying your mother another sweater that she’ll only wear once) and hope to give something with lasting meaning–and make a big difference–this holiday season, keep reading.

There are so many lasting gifts–especially local gifts!–you can give that will make a big difference in that special someone’s life.  The best part is there’s something to give that fits nearly every budget.  Holiday Gifts with lasting impact include:

  • A compost bin / composter.  Composting food waste alone (not to mention yard trimmings) is not only eco-friendly and smart, but it saves mega money in trash disposal costs!  (Local tip:  some towns offer reasonably priced composters at local transfer stations).  This thoughtful gift has the potential to save your gift recipient so much money, immediately and over time.
  • A case or pack of diapers.  Sure, it may not seem like a glamous Christmas gift, but for the new parent in your life, a gift of diapers at a time other than a baby shower can make a huge financial difference–not to mention free them up to do something more fun than shop for diapers on, say, a Friday night.
  • A newspaper subscription.  In small communities the newspaper is often a lifeline to everything local.  A subscription can help get that special person involved in the community, get them connected or save them money on something they’d buy anyway–perhaps ultimately freeing up a little extra daily change for something else.
  • A gift card to the hardware store or pharmacy.  Sure, it may not sound glitzy, but gifting a gift card to one of these stores is sure to get used–and will surely be appreciated when it’s time to present it at the register.
  • A discount book or card.  Whether it’s an Entertainment Book or discount card offered by a local school program (think Vikings Card) or savings coupon punch card, everyone loves a bargain, right?
  • A tool.  Whether it’s a basic like a new hammer or something more fancy like gel- padded knee pads, who can’t use a little something else in their toolbox?
  • A fitness/sports pass or certificate.  Did someone say the gift of health?  Whether your budget allows a certificate for one yoga class, a punch card pass to the local pool (e.g., St. Johnsbury Academy) or a seasons pass to a ski area (Burke, Lyndon Outing Club or Jay Peak), can a gift possibly get any more meaningful?
  • Babysitting vouchers. It may seem old school, but with paper, scissors, staples or a computer and printer and a little bit of your free time, what mom won’t appreciate a voucher (or few of them!) for free babysitting?
  • A kitchen box.  For the cook in your life, you can always go with a fancy shmancy potholder or ultra cool kitchen cloths, but what about gifting a box of unique spices–like the ones that you never seem to have on stock when a new recipe calls for them…hmm, did someone say garam marsala?  Alternatively, you could compile a gift of exotic teas, k-cups, or baking chocolates depending on that special someone’s tastes or cooking interests.

Over at Get Rich Slowly, the recent post Christmas Gifts That Make a Difference, gives a number of lasting gift ideas, which include:   Giving a warehouse membership (think Costco or BJ’s), a box of greeting cards (you can pre-buy boxes of cards or make your own collection when they are on sale, or a local CSA (community supported agriculture) share.

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What are your amazing ideas for lasting impact holiday gifts?  Moms (and dads!)  please feel free to share, brag or inspire in a comment below!

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