Here at Live Happy we are dedicated to making you happy. With the holidays fast approaching, we bet that avoiding long lines, bumper-to-bumper traffic and utter shopping chaos will do just that. Giving a gift of one’s own time, talent or regard, a gift from the heart (instead of the pocketbook), or a gift that gives back creates lasting happiness for both you and your loved ones. Here are even more creative gift ideas from the Live Happy Team:
- Hot chocolate drive and Christmas lights tour with the kids – the wonder in their eyes bring joy to me and hopefully memories for them.
- Girls’ spa trips. Massages and aromatherapy, who couldn't be happy after that?!
- Baking with my children and giving plates of food to our elderly neighbors.
- Exchanging “home-made only” gifts with my close girlfriends.
- Helping my kids make ornaments for our Christmas tree and for their grandparents.
- Host a special dinner for someone. Have friends and family go around the table and express why they care/love that person.
- Since our 95 year old neighbor had to move out of her home, we have missed her dearly. So every now and then, our family takes her out to eat. She looks forward to it, and my boys get to eat at one of their favorite places…and I don't have to cook. Win, win, win!
- Encourage music at home. Our oldest son has become quite the guitar- and now ukulele player. He enjoys figuring out new tunes, and ones we can all sing along to. We encourage him to bring his ukulele along when we visit family and even enjoy having him play on the long drive there… makes for some fun memories when we all start singing along.
- Movie or game night with the family; snacks for supper while we unwind and watch the movie. We usually pop up some popcorn, have some apples, cheese… we call it our "snacky" supper.
- Every winter, we go through the boys' toy closet and I have them pull things out to donate to a local charity. We also have a neighbor boy a few years younger than them, and they pick out their favorite things to give to him. It is such a good feeling to know that someone else can enjoy things that they haven't played with in a while.
- In the Jewish tradition, one of the highest forms of giving is a gift given anonymously and to someone you don't know. It completely eliminates the giver's ego from the gift.
- Last year our block adopted a Nigerian family who were trying to establish themselves in Des Moines. The father moved here with his four young children; he was working to bring over his wife. We raided our closets and cupboards and garages (one of the kids really wanted a bike) to make their holiday and lives a bit brighter.
- Taking time from my holiday celebration to deliver meals to people with disabilities or serving dinner at a shelter always makes me appreciate what I have.
- Here's a gift I gave myself: Facing a long-term illness and recovery, I treated myself to all new bed linens, because I knew that bed was a place I was going to be spending a lot of time.
- An unexpected hand-written note to or from someone special in your life is a joy.
- A mini photo album of the grandkids for grandparents. Something smaller is ideal so that it's easy to carry around (and show off).
- We love gifting food gifts, especially ones made with foods from our yard or farmer friends. Apple butter, salsa, and pickled beets are favorites.
- If you know that a family member needs something specific (a new appliance, money towards a home improvement, furniture for a new baby), corral other family to chip in towards it. Even if it's not the most exciting thing, helping to fulfill an actual need can be a wonderful thing.
Check out 25 more gifts of happiness from the premiere issue of Live Happy.