alternative gifts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12759/all en-US 8 Alternative Gift Ideas for Chanukah http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4175003505_ee6561558b_z.jpg" alt="Chanukah" title="Chanukah" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="214" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With Chanukah less than a week away, most parents are probably scrambling to find gifts for each of the eight nights of the holiday. While gifts are not traditionally part of Chanukah festivities in the Jewish faith, giving gifts each night of the celebration has become part of the festivities. It's hard to deny the influence of giving gifts on Christmas, especially if you have small children.</p> <p>Whether you are a parent who tries to minimize the adopted &quot;tradition&quot; of gift-giving during Chanukah or you are seeking some last-minute ideas, here are eight alternative gift ideas for each night of the holiday. These last-minute ideas can help reduce the stress of any gift-giving holiday, no matter what you claim as your faith. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Family Craft Night</h2> <p>Instead of giving gifts one night, make it a family craft night in which you make gifts for each other. There are plenty of crafts out there to suit children of all ages. Make a menorah or Chanukah decorations out of found objects, clay, or other materials around the house. You can always turn it into a family cooking night. Even the big kids enjoy cookies, and it gives you and your children an opportunity to spend time together.</p> <h2>2. Donate to a Charity</h2> <p>Not only is donating money one of the many mitzvahs in the Jewish faith, but it is also a great way to turn one of the gift-giving nights toward someone in need. There are many Jewish foundations, such as <a href="http://www.heifer.org/heifer-at-hanukkah/?msource=KIK4K120366&amp;gclid=CKPByMvd_rMCFQSf4Aodhm8A7A">Heifer at Hanukkah</a>, that focus on giving meaningful gifts to others on Chanukah. Organizing a toy exchange with a local charity or finding other local charity events to participate in is another way to donate your time and spend a night with your children.</p> <h2>3. Host a Potluck</h2> <p>Invite friends and family to your home on one of the nights for a potluck. This is a great way to enjoy time with loved ones and avoid a night of opening gifts.</p> <h2>4. Storytelling Night</h2> <p>Storytelling is a huge part of the Jewish tradition, and there are plenty of stories you can tell or let your children tell. This is a perfect opportunity to tell Chanukah story. Having your children participate is key for this one.</p> <h2>5. Game Night</h2> <p>Like the family craft night, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night">game night</a> is very popular during Chanukah, given all the games already built into this holiday. You can offer small prizes, such as chocolates and other treats, for the games. And of course, there's always spinning the dreidel.</p> <h2>6. Live Music Night</h2> <p>Whether you have musicians in the family or not, singing together or listening to live music is a great way to spend an evening together. If you have friends who play musical instruments, invite them over and turn it into a musical potluck night.</p> <h2>7. Kids Choice Night</h2> <p>You can always leave one night open to let your kids choose an activity that they enjoy. There are also plenty of Jewish organizations that offer <a href="http://www.canfeinesharim.org/hanukkah/children-energy-activities/">alternative game ideas</a> for kids of all ages.</p> <h2>8. Other Meaningful Gifts</h2> <p>While you may try to avoid gift-giving all together on Chanukah, there may be one night when you want to give a large gift, or a few smaller gifts throughout the week. You can always find something meaningful, such as books, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cool-diy-christmas-gifts-for-the-under-6-crowd">handmade gifts</a>, or toys made by charitable organizations.</p> <p>The trick to avoiding the materialism and stress that tends to go along with holiday gift-giving is to get your children involved. If you are buying a gift for a friend's child and aren't sure what to give, ask the parents first. Many Jewish families differ on ideas about involving gift-giving as part of the Chanukah celebration, but it's safe to get a small or modest gift.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle Shopping alternative gifts Chanukah holiday gift ideas Tue, 04 Dec 2012 11:00:33 +0000 Ashley Watson 959601 at http://www.wisebread.com Breathe Easy: 10 Natural Air Fresheners http://www.wisebread.com/breathe-easy-10-natural-air-fresheners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/breathe-easy-10-natural-air-fresheners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2560598957_92babd6eec_z.jpg" alt="coffee grounds" title="coffee grounds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When something stinky takes over your home, the first thing you reach for might be Febreze. But when you run out, you have no choice but to rely on Mother Nature to provide aromatic relief (which, by the way, is better for the environment and your budget). So to help you battle all the stenches and smells that life wafts your way, here are 10 natural air fresheners that make breathing more bearable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That&nbsp;Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a>)</p> <h2>1. Vinegar</h2> <p>Vinegar is one of the most effective and inexpensive air fresheners around. Just pour distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and attack the problem areas head on. The vinegar scent may be overpowering at first, but as it evaporates, it&rsquo;ll take the offensive odors with it.</p> <h2>2. Kitty Litter</h2> <p>Kitty litter makes sense as a natural air freshener because its main purpose is to mask the scent of a feline&rsquo;s &ldquo;business,&rdquo; but one litter brand in particular &mdash; Jonny Cat Litter &mdash; is a cut above the rest, <a href="http://www.rodale.com/natural-air-fresheners?page=0%2C1">according to Joey Green</a>, author of &quot;Joey Green&rsquo;s Cleaning Magic.&quot; The main ingredient in Jonny is diatomaceous earth, a mineral that absorbs odors and moisture in the air. If you can&rsquo;t find Jonny Cat, settle for straight-up diatomaceous earth, which you can find at a garden supply store.</p> <h2>3. Ground Coffee</h2> <p>To use coffee grounds as an air freshener, let them dry out (an important step to avoid mold) before transferring to a bowl or wrapping in an old stocking that you&rsquo;ll place in an area that you want to freshen. If you&rsquo;re not a coffee drinker (I&rsquo;m among that minority), visit your nearby coffee joint and ask if you can take some of their used grounds off their hands.</p> <h2>4. Potpourri</h2> <p>There are many recipes to make all-natural, homemade potpourri, but I thought you might enjoy this <a href="http://www.ehow.com/video_4426987_green-potpourri.html">video recipe for &ldquo;green&rdquo; potpourri</a>. All you&rsquo;ll need is a brown bag, dried flowers (passion, hibiscus), orris root, orange peel, juniper berries, sandalwood, and orange-scented essential oil. You can find all these organic ingredients in a natural herb store.</p> <h2>5. Vodka</h2> <p>I bet you never expected <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/absolut-repurposing-17-uses-for-vodka">vodka</a> to be on this list of all-natural air fresheners, but here it is. The reason vodka makes such a great freshener is because it contains ethyl alcohol &mdash; the main ingredient in store-bought, chemical-laden fresheners &mdash; and when it dries, it leaves no odor. You can, however, enhance the smell of the vodka freshener with an essential oil &mdash; about 25 drops will do. And if I may &mdash; use the cheap stuff; you&rsquo;re not drinking it, so there&rsquo;s no need to waste the Grey Goose.</p> <h2>6. Citrus and Spices</h2> <p>Bring a pot of orange or lemon rinds and peels to a boil, add in a few cinnamon sticks and/or cloves, and enjoy the fresh, festive fall-like scent it sends through your home. While this freshener will begin to work immediately from the stove, there&rsquo;s no reason you can&rsquo;t bottle it for later use.&nbsp;</p> <h2>7. Essential Oils</h2> <p>Essential oils are an important part of several of these natural air fresheners in order to give the base a more pleasant scent. But outside of vodka and potpourri, you can add essential oils to just about anything &mdash; such as a homemade candle, perhaps &mdash; that will help facilitate easier breathing wherever you are.</p> <h2>8. Baking Soda and Essential Oils</h2> <p>I like the idea of combining baking soda and essential oils in a small jar to make a natural air freshener for two reasons:</p> <ol> <li>It&rsquo;s small, unassuming, and aesthetically pleasing.</li> <li>It&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">perfect for gifting</a>.</li> </ol> <p>See how to <a href="http://www.couponing101.com/daily-frugal-tip-diy-natural-air-freshener/">make your own baking soda air freshener</a> on Couponing 101.</p> <h2>9. The Great Outdoors</h2> <p>Nature is Earth&rsquo;s air freshener &mdash; which is something we often overlook. When there&rsquo;s a foul odor permeating your abode, open the window &mdash; or several &mdash; and let the cool breeze travel through your home while pushing out any offensive stenches.</p> <h2>10. Lemons</h2> <p>To remove seafood smells for your hands, it&rsquo;s recommend to rub them with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-alternative-uses-for-lemons">lemons</a>. Likewise, when your garbage disposal starts to stink, throw a few lemon slices down the hole and run the blades for a burst of citrusy freshness. When you want to deodorize your home, dissolve one-eighth of a cup of baking soda in two cups hot water and a half-cup of lemon juice for an instant air freshener.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breathe-easy-10-natural-air-fresheners">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-eco-friendly-dryer-sheets">Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Dryer Sheets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet">Should You Repair a Dripping Faucet?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-online-resources-for-the-design-impaired">Top 5 Online Resources for the Design Impaired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living Home all-natural deodorizers alternative gifts cleaning tips Tue, 11 Sep 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Mikey Rox 954414 at http://www.wisebread.com The Tyranny of Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/the-tyranny-of-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-tyranny-of-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/too_much_stuff.jpg" alt="Guy packing up stuff" title="Guy packing up stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My holiday wish list last year was simple &mdash; I just wanted one pound of good coffee. For all the folks who were kind enough to ask, &ldquo;What would you like for Christmas?&rdquo; my answer was the same &mdash; a bag of good, dark, aromatic French roast coffee. Something fair trade and organic.</p> <p>I didn&rsquo;t want a new laptop (although I could use one); I didn&rsquo;t want an LCD TV (even though my current TV is the size of an old fridge). I didn&rsquo;t need new shoes, DVDs, an e-reader, a light-saber, a cross-over vehicle, a pillow filled with barley, or adult footie pajamas in a leopard print. Instead, I wanted something that I would use and use up. Something I could savor over the course of a month or two. Something I would not have to feed, water, dust, or maintain. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-will-never-make-you-organized">Stuff Will&nbsp;Never Make You Organized</a>)</p> <p>I have enough stuff, and the older I get, the more I realize that more stuff doesn&rsquo;t equal more happiness. I might even go so far as to suggest that stuff is outright tyrannical. First, I have to figure out where to put the stuff. I tend to live a fairly Spartan life, and I like it that way. I don&rsquo;t suffer random new objects well. New things enter my home only after a vetting process that rivals the Smithsonian&rsquo;s (minus the budget). Unless I&rsquo;ve planned for it and have already figured out where and how I&rsquo;ll use it, the latest object of my affection remains safely pixelated on the computer screen.</p> <p>Stuff also needs to be figured out, decoded, programmed, booted, rebooted, scrubbed for viruses, and defragmented. I love technology, but mixing the holidays with high-end electronics feels like mixing a bubble bath with three stray cats. Maybe next year.</p> <p>New stuff invariably makes some old stuff obsolete too. The obsolete stuff either needs to find a retirement spot in my house or be passed on to another family through a yard sale or charitable donation. How many of us can remember what our garage looked like before it became a cosmic way-station for half-dead consumer goods? How many 20 gallon bins does it take before we all collectively say &ldquo;enough&rdquo;?</p> <p>And stuff multiplies. It&rsquo;s never just one item that satiates the consumer palate any more. Stuff has peripherals, upgrades, add-ons, apps, and enhancements. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Electronics</a> breed like amorous rabbits on drunken holiday. For instance, most teenagers&rsquo; gaming systems look like control centers that should be able to manipulate the weather or redirect an orbiting satellite to finally locate D.B. Cooper and that missing 200 grand.</p> <p>More stuff, especially more complicated stuff, tends to require more expensive repairs. When you bring something new into your home, you&rsquo;re not only adopting that object, you&rsquo;re also agreeing to finance the repair, fix it yourself, or toss it out guilt-free when it finally does break (and it <em>always</em> breaks, eventually). Maybe I&rsquo;m too analytical, but I&rsquo;m suspicious of any object that can&rsquo;t be taken apart, explored, tinkered with and (hopefully) fixed when the occasion calls for it.</p> <p>In the end, more stuff is often the chain that binds us to ideas we&rsquo;d like to move beyond, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-small-town-move-that-ended-the-job-search-blues">places we&rsquo;d like to leave behind</a>, lives we&rsquo;d like to recreate, or chaos we&rsquo;d like escape. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, &ldquo;Objects are in the saddle and ride mankind,&rdquo; and I tend to agree with the old fella. I wonder how many readers would like to come out of the proverbial closet about loving their low-stuff holidays. How many would-be list-makers faced the perplexed expressions of friends and family as they defended their simple holiday requests last year? How was a holiday with less stuff ultimately more fulfilling?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-tyranny-of-stuff">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-before-the-new-year">25 Things to Do Before the New Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks">Sock It to Me: 15 Uses for Old Socks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/silly-sounding-but-simple-use-your-stuff">Silly Sounding, but Simple: Use Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-change-traditional-holiday-gift-giving">5 Reasons to Change Traditional Holiday Gift-Giving</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle alternative gifts decluttering living with less Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:48:13 +0000 Kentin Waits 859676 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-182099929.jpg" alt="gift" title="gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're wondering what kind of gift to buy for the person who already &quot;has it all&quot; this holiday season, you're not alone! It's hard to come up with new and creative ideas for that special someone.</p> <p>But don't fret. If you're looking to buy a gift this year that won't fade away once the newness wears off, then you've come to the right place. Take a look at these gifts that keep on giving! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cooking Classes</h2> <p>What gift could give back more than cooking classes? Classes are fun and a great way to either brush up on existing skills or learn new ones.</p> <h2>2. Perennial Flowers</h2> <p>Why not give the gift of beautiful flowers that continue to bloom each year? No worries if you're not much of a green thumb, here's some advice on <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-choose-and-grow-perennial-flowers.html">how to choose perennials</a>.</p> <h2>3. A Charity Donation</h2> <p>If you're looking for something that surely won't get returned or re-gifted, consider giving a donation on someone's behalf to their favorite charity. Two sites that can help you weed through the various charities and decide which to give to this season are <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a> and <a href="https://www.justgive.org/">Just Give</a>.</p> <h2>4. A Costco Membership</h2> <p><a href="http://costco.com/">Costco</a> memberships are a great way to give a gift that keeps on giving. The savings had at a membership warehouse like Costco can really add up, especially if someone doesn't have to pay the $50 membership fee that first year!</p> <h2>5. Rechargeable Batteries and Charger</h2> <p>It's not the most exciting gift in the world, but for that practical someone on the list, it makes a lot of sense.</p> <h2>6. Photos</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holkpgive-156424821-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Give the gift of a family photo to your spouse, grandparents, or other relatives. Use a site like <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11319379">Snapfish</a> to put them into a memory book, calendar, or any number of other creative ideas.</p> <h2>7. Toms Shoes</h2> <p><a href="http://toms.com/">Toms Shoes</a> are an excellent gift because they are two gifts in one. When you buy a pair of shoes, Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child in need around the world.</p> <h2>8. Toms Sunglasses</h2> <p>Toms recently starting selling more than just shoes. You can give the gift of eyesight to someone in need around the world with every purchase of a pair of <a href="http://www.toms.com/eyewear/our-movement/">Toms sunglasses</a>.</p> <h2>9. Zoo Membership</h2> <p>A zoo membership is a great gift for a family with children. The membership can be used multiple times throughout the year and usually includes free passes to the dolphin show (my favorite!) and other extras.</p> <h2>10. Sponsorship of an International Child</h2> <p>Through an organization like <a href="http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/sponsor/learn-about-sponsorship?open&amp;lpos=top_drp_Sponsor_LearnAbout">World Vision</a>, you can provide a child with education for as little as $32. You can also sponsor a child for roughly $35 per month, which provides a child with clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, and education.</p> <h2>11. A Pocket Camcorder</h2> <p>Give the gift of capturing memories with a pocket camcorder. Here are good <a href="http://pocket-camcorder.toptenreviews.com/">reviews of pocket camcorders</a>&nbsp;to get you headed in the right direction.</p> <h2>12. A Letter</h2> <p>Give a memorable gift that a loved one can re-read at any time. Hand-written letters are a thing of the past, which makes them even more special.</p> <h2>13. A Famous Family Recipe</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 302px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holkpgive-179873497-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Do you make the best pulled pork with your own special BBQ sauce? Or perhaps no one comes close to that perfect chili recipe like you do. Type your &quot;almost&quot; famous recipe and tape it to a new pot, pan, or other cooking utensil.</p> <h2>14. A Vacation</h2> <p>This doesn't have to be a seven-day Mediterranean cruise. It can as small as an overnight stay in the city or a weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast. Memories created on these trips will last a lifetime!</p> <h2>15. Blue Silk Scarves</h2> <p>Looking for a winter accessory to give to your special someone? Take a look at scarves from <a href="http://bluesilk.org/about_bluesilk.html">Blue Silk Scarves</a>. Each purchase sends a donation to help women in Cambodia break free from cycles of poverty by teaching them life skills.</p> <h2>16. (Not Your Average) Greeting Card</h2> <p>If you're just looking for a greeting card for the holiday, be sure to check out the great collection from <a href="http://treenex.com/about-us">Tree Nex</a>. Every card purchase you make will plant a tree in a forest for your recipient, and you can even track your tree online.</p> <h2>17. (Not Your Average) Gift Card</h2> <p>If you're looking to give someone a gift card this year, consider giving a card that will allow them to help change the world. The vision for <a mce_href="http://globalgiving.org" href="http://globalgiving.org/">Global Giving</a>&nbsp;is to &quot;unleash the potential of people around the world to make positive change happen.&quot; Each card allows your recipient to choose what projects they donate the gift card amount to. Projects include feeding the hungry, educating children, building houses, training men and women with jobs skills, and many others.</p> <h2>18. Your Skills</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holkpgive-kid-baby-3929952-small-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Are you really good at woodworking? <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;ved=0CG8QFjAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.getrichslowly.org%2Fblog%2F2008%2F11%2F13%2Fa-do-it-yourself-christmas-34-great-gifts-you-can-make-yourself%2F&amp;ei=BjbVTrj8MKa22gW754WaAQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNGF_h2aZt07yiLhUKuW9bwwa43RjA">Make something</a>. Have a knack for cooking? Volunteer to teach your skills. Love kids? Offer to babysit once a month to give parents a break. Are you a budding artist? Create an amazing canvas to help decorate someone's home. Use your natural talents, be creative, and have fun.</p> <h2>19. Reusable Gift Bag</h2> <p>If you are wrapping your gift, choose a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_type=handmade&amp;search_query=cloth+gift+bag+wrapping&amp;order=most_relevant">reusable gift bag</a> so your recipient can use the bag again for someone else. Plus, you'll save some trees as well.</p> <h2>20. A Reusable Water Bottle</h2> <p>Check out these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">reusable water bottles</a> to help stay away from any potentially hazardous plastics.</p> <h2>21. A Special Edition iPod</h2> <p>Give the gift of music with a <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipod/red/">(PRODUCT) RED Special Edition iPod</a>. Apple gives a portion of the purchase price to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.</p> <h2>22. Jewelry With a Purpose</h2> <p>If you're looking to give the gift of jewelry this year, check out <a href="http://31bits.com/about/programs/">31 Bits</a>. Your gift will also give the gift of fighting poverty for women in Uganda.</p> <h2>23. A Secret Identity</h2> <p>For the wannabe crime fighters in your life, give the gift of living out a superhero identity. The <a href="http://superherosupplies.com/">Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company</a> has all your needs covered. All proceeds go directly to support the free writing and tutoring programs at <a mce_href="http://826nyc.org" href="http://826nyc.org/">826NYC</a>, a nonprofit that supports students ages 6-18 with their writing skills.</p> <h2>24. A Fresh Herb Keeper</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holkpgive-160435451-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I've never understood why grocery stores sell herbs in huge bunches when recipes usually call for a small amount. Most of the time, we end up throwing our herbs away. Check out this clever <a href="http://www.reuseit.com/store/fresh-herb-keeper-progressive-international-p-2772.html">fresh herb keeper</a>, which helps avoid wasting money and food.</p> <h2>25. A Fruit and Veggie Saver</h2> <p>Along the same lines, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies">fruit and vegetables</a> can spoil quickly if you're not eating them right away. Check out these <a href="http://www.reuseit.com/store/reuseit-produce-saver-made-p-2029.html">fruit and veggie keepers</a> that helps keep produce crisp and fresh.</p> <h2>26. Reusable Vacuum Seal Lids</h2> <p>Help your friends or family go green by getting rid of plastic wrap. Not only will these <a href="http://www.reuseit.com/store/reusable-vacuum-seal-lids-keepeez-p-2238.html">reusable vacuum food sealers</a> help keep heaps of plastic wrap out of landfills, they will keep food fresher longer.</p> <h2>27. A Good &quot;How To&quot; Book</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holkpgive-3101556-small-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>A book that can teach a new skill or way of doing things could be a gift that gives back tenfold. I really like David Allen's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142000280/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0142000280&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Getting Things Done</a> book. You could also try the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307465357/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307465357&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">4 Hour Workweek</a> by Tim Ferris.</p> <h2>28. A Coupon Book</h2> <p>An <a href="http://www.entertainment.com/discount/local_editions.shtml?path=BOOK">Entertainment Book</a> is a great way to give a gift that keeps on giving, or rather keeps on saving! The book offers coupons, discounts, and savings in multiple categories like restaurants, entertainment, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-cut-your-car-expenses">car maintenance</a>, to name a few.</p> <h2>29. Magazine Subscriptions</h2> <p>To give a gift that lasts all year long, consider a magazine subscription.</p> <h2>30. Netflix Subscriptions</h2> <p>Similarly, for the movie buff on your list, give the gift of limitless blockbusters by offering a subscription to <a href="http://netflix.com/">Netflix.</a></p> <h2>31. Food of the Month Club</h2> <p>Whether the person on your list loves steaks, cheese, pizza, wine, or other foods, you can give the gift of their favorite dish to last them all year long. Check out <a href="http://www.club-offers.com/food/">Club-Offers.com</a> for that perfect fare. Bon Appetit!</p> <p><em>What other gifts would you add to this list?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-topp">Jason Topp</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah">8 Alternative Gift Ideas for Chanukah</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-anti-aging-creams">The 5 Best Anti-Aging Creams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-face-washes">The 5 Best Face Washes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-trash-bags">The 5 Best Trash Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discount-designer-clothing-17-places-to-get-name-brands-for-less">Discount Designer Clothing: 17 Places to Get Name Brands for Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping alternative gifts charity holiday gift ideas product reviews Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:24:12 +0000 Jason Topp 804354 at http://www.wisebread.com The Art of Asking for Fewer Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-asking-for-fewer-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-art-of-asking-for-fewer-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thursday_gift.jpg" alt="Gift" title="Gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="240" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This year, my family gave me gifts, carefully picking out a variety of different things that they hoped would make me happy. I did the same for them. But, somehow, after all the wrapping paper was thrown away and the thank you notes were written, I didn't feel very wonderful about all the things I had received.</p> <p>I have one relative that sends me a long chatty letter every year along with a check. I love the letters, but I certainly wouldn't mind if she just skipped the check &mdash; I don't need it. I have another relative who carefully chooses Christmas tree ornaments for my husband and I, but hasn't actually asked if we even have a Christmas tree (we don't). I appreciate the thought, but the gift itself means that I'm going to have to find something to do with it.</p> <p>I feel like a bad person for it, but I don't want my relatives to go out shopping for all these gifts for me or sending me money or anything like that. I'd much rather a few more chatty letters or the occasional visit. But I know that my family cherishes the opportunity to do something nice for one another (even I enjoy going out and finding what I hope are favorite gifts). Finding a way to express my preferences for fewer gifts has been a difficult process and isn't nearly over. But I'm working on improving this particular art form.</p> <h3>Think About What You Truly Want</h3> <p>At the end of the day, I do like getting gifts. I like knowing that my family and friends want to go out of their way to do something nice for me &mdash; and I think that's true of most people. It's just the end results that bother me: I don't want to have to find a home for some knickknack that I only keep because a family member gave it to me.</p> <p>One of the best gifts I've ever received was when I convinced my grandmother that all I wanted was for her to bake me up a batch of my favorite cookies. I truly wanted those cookies (a treat I didn't normally get) far more than anything she could have given me.</p> <p>Just sitting and thinking about the gifts that I really have enjoyed and loved has provided me some insights on what I want and how to ask for those items. I love the handmade gifts I've received. My favorite blanket, tasty treats, and other homemade gifts are what I remember with the most fondness.</p> <p>The tough part is telling my friends and family that I cherish these gifts far more than a check or another purchase. Trying to tell relatives that I don't want their money can go very wrong. When I have these conversations, I want to talk about the fact that I appreciate what they do for me and the matter is not that I don't want their gifts. It's incredibly difficult to gracefully say that you'd prefer something other than what your family members have been giving you, and it requires as much sensitivity as you can find.</p> <h3>Consider Helping Others&nbsp;</h3> <p>One of the simplest approaches I've found to the gift question is telling family members that I appreciate the thought but, if they were thinking of sending me a check or a gift card anyhow, I'd love if they just sent it directly to my favorite charity.</p> <p>Of course, there is that occasional relative who will make a donation in your name and then turn around and still give you something, but that's a situation you'll have to talk about with the giver.</p> <h3>It Isn't a Matter of Giving Less</h3> <p>No matter my own preferences, I try not to give fewer gifts out. Part of the matter is that I love giving gifts (although, over the past few years, I've been trying to focus on giving meaningful gifts, homemade where possible). But I also don't want to offend anyone or give the feeling that I don't appreciate them.</p> <p>Not too long ago, there was a Miss Manners column where someone wrote in with a question: A relative had switched to making donations in family members' names rather than giving gifts. It was to the giver's preferred charity, and the giver seemed to still prefer receiving gifts rather than donations. The question was about how to handle the situation.</p> <p>In my mind, every aspect of that situation was problematic. I want to be able to give my family exactly what they want &mdash; and, despite any hope I have of rising above wanting gifts myself, I want them to give me exactly what I want. It just so happens that the things I want (to make donations to a favorite charity or a homemade batch of cookies) don't quite match up with what my family expects to give. At the end of the day, if keeping my family happy means finding another knickknack a home, I'm happy to do it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-asking-for-fewer-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-guarantees-besides-death-and-taxes">4 Guarantees Besides Death and Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah">8 Alternative Gift Ideas for Chanukah</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-ease-your-parents-into-assisted-living">6 Ways to Ease Your Parents Into Assisted Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-every-dad-needs">6 Apps Every Dad Needs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family alternative gifts charitable giving cutting back Mon, 17 Jan 2011 14:00:08 +0000 Thursday Bram 458074 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons to Change Traditional Holiday Gift-Giving http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-change-traditional-holiday-gift-giving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-to-change-traditional-holiday-gift-giving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift giving.jpg" alt="boy opening a holiday gift" title="boy opening a holiday gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some traditions are worth keeping. Others almost beg for you to stomp all over them, perhaps none so much as traditional American holiday gifting.&nbsp;If the recession has taught us anything (and this is a big &quot;IF&quot;), it's that many of us are spending way more than we should be. If it's taught us anything else, it's that maybe all of that stuff didn't really matter in the first place.</p> <p>So why the heck do we continue to mindlessly head out among the chaos and spend a few hundred or thousand dollars on impersonal stuff that we don't even know the receiver will need or even want, while they do the same for us?</p> <p>I'm not advocating that you ban gift-giving altogether. But I would enourage you to reconsider how you approach holiday gift-giving this year. Here are five reasons why.</p> <h3>1. Nobody Knows What You Need More Than You</h3> <p>How many times have you had to fake liking a gift? It's painful, but we do it. That piece-of-junk kitchen appliance or ugly sweater ends up never getting used. Then you have to live with the guilt knowing that your loved one spent $50 on it for you, and you never used it. When they come over, you leave it out in the open so it appears that you have been using it after all. Kind of sad. You have a chance to end that painful cycle.</p> <h3>2. Nobody Knows What Your Loved Ones Need More Than Them</h3> <p>This is #1 flipped around. Why spend all of the time running around the herd looking for something that you're not even sure someone will like? You're wasting your time and your money, and when your loved one opens up that gift, you know they are faking their joy. Again: painful.</p> <h3>3. Mother Earth Will Thank You</h3> <p>All of this junk eventually ends up in a landfill. The human race cannot continue to exist if our current consume-and-dump ways continue. In giving up the purchase of junk, you're doing the world and the human race a great service. Change has to start somewhere, and why not with the biggest consumer-purchasing event of the year?</p> <h3>4. Stuff is Impersonal</h3> <p>Do you remember what you gave your mother five years ago? Does she?</p> <h3>5. You Don't Have to Give up Giving and Receiving</h3> <p>Just because you are actively choosing to give up the mindless purchasing of stuff does not mean you have to entirely give up the joy of giving. Have a discussion with your loved ones about how you want to handle holiday gift-giving this year. You may just find that they are relieved at your suggestion to try something new.</p> <p>Here are a few experience gift ideas that you can discuss with your loved ones:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Events:</strong><em>&nbsp;</em>Buy tickets to a play, an athletic event, a concert, movies, or a musical.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Night on the town:</strong>&nbsp;Treat someone to a nice dinner and a movie.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Food and drink:</strong>&nbsp;There are few things that people love as much as food and drink. Bake a pie, cook a really nice dinner, or buy wine.</li> </ul> <p>These are just a handful of ideas that you might like (with a good chance that your gift receivers will really appreciate them as well). And they all have one thing in common: bringing people closer together through a shared experience.</p> <p>Doesn't that sound like a tradition worth starting?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-change-traditional-holiday-gift-giving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-ready-for-christmas-7-things-you-should-do-today">Get Ready for Christmas: 7 Things You Should Do Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-dog-is-ruining-your-credit-score">3 Ways Your Dog Is Ruining Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-and-why-to-start-an-investment-club">How (and Why) to Start an Investment Club</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle alternative gifts Christmas Christmas gift ideas experience gifts gift giving holiday gifts Mon, 29 Nov 2010 13:00:08 +0000 G.E. Miller 334867 at http://www.wisebread.com