Christmas gifts from the heart are the best

Opinion

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By Loretta A. Ragsdell

Contributing Reporter / Columnist

With Christmas less than a week a way, the hustle and bustle is winding down for some and has yet to begin for others. The others I am referring to are the procrastinators who seem to forget that Christmas comes on Dec. 25 every year. I secretly believe they enjoy the rush of last-minute shopping and frantically hunting for gift deals.

For years, people have complained that Christmas is too commercialized, so unless you really enjoy shopping at the gas station convenient store on Christmas Eve, this year, instead of running from store to store and combing the aisles for the perfect last-minute gifts, why not do something uniquely different and give the special people in your life gifts from the heart?

Last year, my family and I decided to only exchange gifts from the heart. Based on our intimate knowledge of each other's personalities, likes, dislikes, talents, hobbies and pastimes, we had to create or make the perfect gift. I must say the results were great, and the gifts turned out to be some of the best we have every received.

For the workaholic, consummate professional, or perpetual student, personal service and time-saving ideas makes great gifts. On a beautifully personally designed card, create a gift certificate through which you pledge a full week of babysitting, running errands or serving as a personal assistant. This could involve doing laundry, preparing meals, drawing warm baths, and providing chauffeur services. You can spice up the gift by offering on-demand service and wearing an actual uniform.

For the music lover or artist on your list, you can create a music play-list of their favorite artists and songs for the iPod or MP3 player. For the old-schooler, a burned CD is even better. As a companion to the music mix, you can create a photo album of the artists embellished with hot gossip and personal information. Pictures and information can easily be retrieved from Google and other Internet sources.

Creating a personal website highlighting the recipient's life is another great Internet gift. A great site for a free and easy-to-create website is www.weebly.com. Google.com offers an entire suite of Internet tools for creating great websites and digital online photo albums.

One of my favorite gifts is the monthly calendar of events where the gift-giver plans an activity for every day of a month. The activities can be as simple as calling the recipient with a recorded daily inspirational message set to his or her favorite music, treating them to a lavish lunch or a pampering spa day. The calendar can spell out each activity or simply promise a surprise a day.

If these seem too much for you, even if it's your least favorite thing to do, a sure gift-winner is the promise to accompany them to a chick flick, sporting event, concert, or shopping spree. A book of poorly written poetry filled with good intentions and bad rhymes is always a cherished gift.

Remember that in gift-giving it's the thought that counts, so this Christmas, dare to give gifts from the heart. It comes wrapped in good feelings, warm thoughts, and unconditional love. Saying Merry Christmas in a non-traditional way will light up your New Year.

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