Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Consumable Gift Giving - 2nd Edition

I first published this tip 11 months ago. As I see more and more pre-Hallowe'en evidence of the holiday season blasting forward about as fast as the stock market is falling downward, I decided it wasn't too early to republish. This 2nd edition focuses on the simplification of the consumable gift and less expensive options.

Once again, let's redefine the word consumable. The Encarta Dictionary defines consumable goods as “goods that have to be bought regularly because they wear out or are used up, such as food and clothing”. For the purposes of gift-giving, I have defined the word as follows:

A consumable gift is one which by its inherent nature has a best before date or natural expiry date, wears out or is used up and permits the recipient an opportunity to enjoy for a limited time and then dispose of, without guilt.

If this is a definition that appeals to you for individuals on your gift list, here are some suggestions to get your shopping started.

  • Baskets of food, home made preserves, including perhaps candles and some decorative paper napkins related to a a personal interest or characteristic of the recipient e.g. gardener!
  • A tribute donation to a charity which is already supported by the recipient or otherwise meaningful to them e.g. The Toronto Humane Society, The Cancer Society.
  • A sponsorship donation to a charity which has designed annual sponsorship or gift campaigns e.g. The Toronto Zoo has set up an animal adoption program. In the adoption package you receive a picture and information about your animal. World Vision has a gift catalogue from which you can pick an item that can be supported by your donation e.g. 2 rabbits to a family ($35), a harvest pack for 4 families ($35), a backpack with school supplies for a child ($25), help a family start a business ($100) or fill up a whole stable ($1200). My daughter (13) and son (6) love this catalogue and had fun doing the “shopping” for me for their cousins in Hong Kong and Italy, some neighbours and friends.
  • Gift certificates especially for a clothing store or movie passes. These gifts are great for the teenagers on your list. How about IKEA so your niece can redecorate her room? A manicure for your workaholic sister? Then book the appointment and enjoy together!
  • Candles, decorative paper napkins, coffee
  • Prepackage the dry ingredients for your favourite muffin recipe in a jar and include the recipe on the label.
  • Offer to babysit your sister's children for a day so that she and her husband can take a day out together.
  • A music lesson for someone who always wanted to play the ______(you fill in the instrument).
    You get the idea. Now let your imagination have some fun and enjoy the shopping experience knowing that you are helping to keep clutter at bay in someone else’s life.

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