Part 2 of 6: Brainstorm ideas
Now that you have your basic list compiled, it is time to brainstorm your ideas in step 2.
If you are just jumping in, read about step 1 here. There still may be gaps in your info gathering, and that’s OK. The most obvious piece is knowing who is on your list. But it is useful to get information about the ages of the kids on that list and what is your budget before brainstorming the ideas. You may still be working on other information such as finalizing plans about where you will be and if you are mailing gifts or bringing them in person. But at least getting started on planning while we are still in October will help things fall into place.
I love gift guides for finding ideas. They are usually written or compiled by someone who knows about the topic at hand. If the kid on your list loves something that you know very little about, these guides are great. For example, I have a nephew who loves fishing, which is not in my wheelhouse. Remember to include words like “gifts”, “kids or “teens” so you get a spot-on list. While you can do this with a google search, don’t forget that you can also do searches on Etsy, Pinterest or Amazon.
For babies and kids up to the tween stage, you can go directly to online shops that organize gifts by age. Mindware is a favorite of mine. I love that they have search categories by relevant factors like price, age and interest, but not by gender. I appreciate the gender equity: you don’t get steered away from math/science/sports interests when shopping for a girl and you can shop cooking supplies without it all being marketed as a girls-only hobby. One of my sons likes to cook, so I appreciate that. I’m not crazy about their selection for teens, so this is only my go-to for the younger bunch.
If you have a local store to visit in person, maybe go and just browse. Especially now, before it gets really busy. At this stage by starting early, you can take a look without the pressure to just get something. You have time to take a picture and get an opinion first. For those of you who are local, my favorite is Mischief Toy Store in St. Paul, MN. What I love about them is that there is a great selection for teens and young adults.
Books and magazines offer a whole world of something for everyone. Most book stores also have audio books, recordings, journals, coloring books and more. This is a great option if you get busy and overwhelmed, because you can find gifts for people on your list who are decades apart in age and worlds apart in interests.
I would also encourage you to think about gifts of experiences. This would include gift certificates for live theater, movies, classes, memberships, massages and restaurants. It’s a great way to support small or local businesses.
Another twist on that theme is to make a donation in someone’s honor. This is great option for those who have it all. I started doing that when I discovered Heifer International. My mother is from the Dominican Republic, and I was able to make a donation that would go to a family there. My parents found that very meaningful. No need to shy away or feel that it is impersonal. There are many organizations that are set up to buy a donation as a gift.
We spend a fair chunk of change at the holidays, and I do like to think about where that money is going and what businesses am I supporting. If someone on my list asks for something from a particular store, I usually get it, as pleasing the recipient is still less wasteful than a bunch of gifts no one will use. But if the request is general, such as clothing or a scarf, or for those who don’t send a wish list or preferences at all, I am free to support what I value. Gifts can be a risk—but if I am at least supporting an artist, a local maker or a business making the world a better place, it is better than just more cr*p. If you are reading this, you very likely support sustainability and ethical labor practices, so you can get what others would like and shop your values at the same time.
The Done-by-Thanksgiving challenge:
Keep following along with this blog and join the challenge. Subscribe to get notified about posts along with additional tips and deals. Keep EcoPetites in mind for the short women on your list, or to buy holiday-ready outfits for yourself. If you spend at least $50 at EcoPetites by the weekend before Thanksgiving, post about it on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, I’ll send you an e-gift card for $25 on November 24th. Just use the hashtag #donebyNov21 so I see you. Everything here is made in the USA of sustainable fabrics and all petite sizing.