Are you running out of ideas for a last minute gift? Do you want to give someone something that may be more valued than anything you can buy from the mall? Are you broke?
I’ve compiled my top 5 last minute gifts that cost you absolutely nothing and express your heartfelt appreciation for someone you love. They are also usually received as the best gifts ever!
Gifts of Appreciation: The favorite gift of all
These gifts of appreciation are tried and true, and they all have three things in common:
- No money required. You will not have to spend a dime.
- Your time. They all include you giving your time to communicate your appreciation and gratitude.
- They are all small actions that can have a huge impact.
These gift ideas can either be written down and given as a coupon, or wrapped as a gift under the tree. However you choose to present them, they are all gifts that focus on your relationship instead of “stuff.”
1) Schedule a call
Skip the online messages and give a real, live, uninterrupted phone call that includes more than just a few minutes of talking. You can give a coupon that includes a schedule or a date to call every week at the same time, or on an agreed upon time. This gift brought my 90 year old dad to tears one year. It’s the perfect gift for those on your list who don’t live close by, or you don’t get to see often. Or in the case of my dad, he just loves to have a nice chat with me once a week. So simple and so appreciated.
2) Promise to do a good deed
This gift involves making a card or handmade coupon that describes a service you will do. They can be running an errand, baby or pet sitting, giving a ride, making a meal or doing a chore that they hate to do (the dishes, cook a meal, clean a closet). This is the gift of you time and service and is always a big hit.
3) A personal, hand-written note
Write a simple note to let them know how they have made a difference in your life. Be specific and authentic. Include a photo if you have one. The written word is powerful.
4) Volunteer for their favorite local charity
Find out what their favorite charity is and volunteer there in their honor. It could be the food bank, an animal shelter, or another favorite local charity. Send them a note or card describing the work you did in their honor. I have a friend who makes a simple wreath ornament from construction or other scrap paper, writes the year on the front in glitter pen, and on the back describes the charity they are donating time (or money) to.
5) Write a word
Look in your garden, at a local beach, or anywhere you may find an interesting smooth stone to write on. Write a word, or words, on it in a sharpie pen that reminds you of them, a special date, words of inspiration, or simply “I love you.” You can write on more than one stone to give a small collection (or give a new one each year to build a collection).
Try one of these ideas that focus on your relationship and your appreciation, or come up with your own variation. Remember to keep it personal and to have a plan to follow through with your gift.
A gift of appreciation may just be one of the favorite gifts your loved one will receive this year.
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home. Check out her live and online communication skills training.