Add that personal touch to gifts this year

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Addie Graffin PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

I remember a time when gift-giving was fun.

Was it just because I was a kid, or was it because once upon a time, we put more thought into gifts? We shopped in stores. We saw a special something and thought of someone who it would be perfect for and bought it on the spot, stuffed it away for the right time and felt such joy and excitement for them to open it.

I noticed that my little sister does this. Her excitement makes the holiday season fun. She is the first one to hand gifts out, and she always wants us to open them before she even thinks of unwrapping any of hergifts.

That is so special. She puts so much thought and good energy into each and every gift.

She doesn’t order them online it either. She genuinely thinks of us when she sees the perfect fit and puts so much love into the purchase.

I don’t know about you, but I am super guilty of asking for lists and buying what is on it. Or, even worse, I will get you a gift card. It is so impersonal. No thought. No love. It just kind of feels like I am giving you $20, and you are giving me $20 back with whatever was on my list.

How can we make it special this year?

I know we all have tried the homemade Pinterest ideas. They seem great at first. You get all the stuff with excitement, then are annoyed that you can’t find the time to put it together. Or worse, it is a total fail, and it turns out nothing like you had hoped.

I say the ditch the DIY this year, and try these:

For the gals in your life

Get them something you would love to have.

Lately, I have been really into anything that has to do with stress relief. I have been loving positive affirmation cards, my at-home pedi spa foot bath for cold winter months, and I have been obsesses with my portable in-home sauna.

If you love something, your besties, mother or sisters might love it, too.

For the guys in your life

All my guy wants is a date night once per month. We have been trying to make that happen for years. Something always comes up, of course.

So this year, I am giving him a coupon for one Saturday night per month for any restaurant of his choice. Put it in a cute little card, make it fun and even wrap it up. I promise your guy will not be disappointed in the gift that keeps on giving.

For the fam bam and kiddos

I am doing it. I am going to plan a family vacation for the spring. Why should that not be a great gift for everyone?

Wrap up little clues for everyone to open. Maybe a sea shell if you are going to the beach, Minnie ears for Disney, a post card with the destination on it. You get my drift.

No vacation planned? No prob. How about a fun game for each kid that you can play together. Make it a tradition each week to pick a night to play a different game together as a family.

I understand that there will be other gifts to give. Kids will want their toys. But a lot of that stuff is forgotten after a few weeks. Let’s this year try to really put some thought into gifts that will be unforgettable for the entire year — maybe even longer.

For yourself

Buy yourself something amazing this year.

Holidays are such a wonderful time of year to splurge a little, get excited about it and just have fun.

What is something you have been really wanting but would never just buy for yourself? Get out there, and spend some of your hard-earned money this year.

The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to live joyfully. No guilt buying a little something to get you there.

Addie Graffin is a freelance columnist and blogger based in Platteville, Wis. Read more at

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