The gift list: Consider a gift with a lasting impact

Consider giving gifts this holiday season that will make a positive impact or send a message of care.

Emails arriving daily telling of sales galore, the perfect gift for your child and more! The perfect gift is just a mouse click away, according to those tempting emails. Make their Christmas bright, see their eyes sparkle, fill their hearts with love; those ads make you think you can do it all. What type of gift will deliver these pleasures? Here are a few items that may not be in those ads that you should consider giving this holiday season.

The gift of time. Some say it is the greatest gift they could receive; it may be time with a loved one or just time with another person who is present in the moment. How many of us rush through the day and forget the value to take time? Take the time to call a friend, or sit with a child and just be present with them or engage in their favorite activity. You could even play a board game with your family.

Share a skill. If you’re baking your favorite cookies this season, consider the child who lives nearby that would love to learn how to bake. There are many who have not acquired basic cooking and baking skills and would love to have a friend or family member show them their way around the kitchen while sharing that favorite recipe. Do you knit or crotchet? Yarn is fun at any age and projects abound on Pinterest for men and women. Consider starting a knitting circle or just a cup of tea with a friend as you provide a lesson or two. Enjoy woodworking with added joy when someone new experiences the thrill of creating a masterpiece for the first time.

Purchase a kit to do together. There are many kits available for all ages. Who can resist a model of a car or ship? What about the jewelry making kit, candle making kit or blanket that you can cut and tie together? Kits can give you a purpose to be together and create the connection you need to have a conversation with another adult or child. They open the door to dialogue.

Give experiences. Experiences offer the opportunity to connect and combine many of the items on this list into one amazing gift. Consider tickets, gift cards or homemade certificates for a game night or family night. This can be the ultimate gift in which the recipient gets time with you, an activity and memories to last a lifetime.

Volunteer just once or as much as you like. Consider volunteering just this once in honor of someone you love. The local soup kitchen, a cancer center, the animal shelter or your favorite organization will appreciate your help, and you will honor the memory of someone you love. You can honor someone while they are still alive and make a difference they can possibly even see. You may decide to honor your past 4-H leader by leading a project that lasts a week, six weeks or a full year. The choice is yours, but let the person know you are paying it forward in their honor or because they inspired you.

Commemorate the memory of a loved one with your service or a contribution to a favorite organization or cause that meant a lot to them. It allows you to honor their memory, reflect on the love they had for a cause and contribute to something greater than yourself.

These are gifts that are greater than toys that will break, shoes that will get lost in a pile, and dishes that will be stacked in the corner. These are all gifts that will make a positive impact or send a message of care. If you are looking for a place to volunteer, consider Michigan State University Extension and one of its 4-H Youth Development programs. If you would like to contribute to the 4-H program, consider the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

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