Mike’s Guide to Gifting: A Few Of My Favourite Things!
By Mike Butler
As I am writing this article (twinkly-eyed and giddy), it’s exactly one month until Christmas Day. Out of common sense and respect, I start my holiday cheer after November 11, and music and decorating after December 1, but I never shy away from thinking about the gifts and treats I’m going to pick up for my friends and family. If you know me, then you know Christmas is my favourite time of year! With so much at our disposal here in the Valley, I’ve compiled a little list of my ten favourite things to ponder as gifts/ tokens for this holiday season!
- The Reminder Gift: This one is pretty special because the gift you give becomes a reminder of either your friendship or kinship to the receiver. Items like: 2019 Christmas ornaments, a homemade calendar, or a magazine subscription. Once revisited, these gifts will provide reflection and continued thanks. Use your imagination and make it fun!
- Food & Cheer: There is no shortage of great places to eat in our Valley so why not treat your friend or family member to a gift certificate or dinner out to a NEW restaurant! (new in town or new to them) Why go to the same old places when there’s such a variety of specialty eateries at your disposal like Troy, Li’s Wok & Grill, Chrismaria Family Restaurant, Juniper, Le Caveau restaurant, Union Street Cafe, Blomidon Inn, and The Church Brewing Co.? And it never hurts to introduce someone to a new bottle of local wine, coffee, tea etc.
- Gift It Forward: This is one of my favourites! Call your friends that you normally exchange with and say “let’s each buy a gift and donate it to the local food bank or charity.” After you’ve done your exchange, get together and enjoy each others’ company- that’s the group gift! It’s a twist on the Secret Santa idea and you just never know who gets your special present!
- A Thousand Words: A picture is worth a thousand words and what a great gift idea: a photograph or piece of art work. Something artistic, crafty, and decorative can add positivity to a person’s living space and health. Pick from one of our many local artists, painters, or photographers. Visit local farmer’s markets or art galleries for prints to find that perfect picture, or go the distance and make it even more special by creating a framed collage of memorable photos of you and your friend. Hint hint: Homemade wood frames painted to match their wall!
- From The Heart: This one is easy and very heartfelt. This kind of gift is a donation in memory of someone who was lost or is battling a disease. Make your donation and tell your friend or family that this is where you put your holiday money. It means so much!
- Date Night: We all might have friends that are a couple. You want to buy them that “couple” gift but they have everything! Well, why not give them a Date Night package which includes a dinner gift certificate, bottle of wine, a certificate to catch a movie together, or dancing or cooking lessons? How about gift certificates to CentreStage Theatre or Quick as a Wink Theatre’s upcoming shows? There’s so much for couples to do so treat them to a night out together!
- A Novel Idea: BOOKS! I cannot promote the idea of giving a book as a gift enough ! New, Used, a gift certificate to buy a book, whatever you want just give the gift of literature! Adults, kids, and especially youth need to still appreciate the beauty of books. We are so fortunate to have The Odd Book and Rainbow’s End in Wolfville, Shelf Life in Kentville, Books Galore in Coldbrook, and Reader’s Haven in Windsor. Shop Local and Read Lots!
- Save the Planet: An important thing to remember this holiday season is to do your best to be waste conscious! In terms of gifts, there are still people who need reuseable travel mugs for coffee and tea, reusable bottles for water, cloth grocery bags, and other planet-friendly items. Also, wrap your gifts in decorative recyclable paper, or make your own wrapping this season. Everyone loves an eco-nut so do your best!
- Quirky But Special: I love this concept. If you really know someone, then you can select something odd and quirky to match their personality and catch them by surprise. I am a huge fan of cool and unusual socks, funny t-shirts, neat household items, and amusing napkins. This concept means you dig deep and always get the “that is SO me” reaction from your friend or family member. Check out Absolutely Fabulous in New Minas, Winery Gift Shops, Realm Boutique in Wolfville and more.
- YOU: Last but not least, the best present of all time, to suit everyone on your list is YOU! You, yourself, and your time can be one of the nicest presents. Bake some cookies and show up at your friend’s house for a visit. Take the time to go out for lunch and chat and catch up. Give yourself to someone and make your presence be the present this holiday!