Think Outside the Gift Box
BY DIANE WILTJER
Special to The Pilot
Every once in a while, a real gem of an email soars through cyberspace and eventually lands in our inbox. Such is the case with "Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition," urging us to buy locally.
"Honor," it says, "the American dream that underlines our community shops, services and small businesses." I'd go a step further and add the many nonprofit organizations that enrich our lives on a day-to-day basis, year-round.
The email is a treasure trove of gift-giving ideas for us to ponder for each person on our list.
Give gift certificates to locally owned hair salons and barbershops. Maybe a massage or two? A spa treatment of their choice? A gym membership? Fitness training sessions?
What about getting someone's car detailed? Or giving them "x' number of car washes? Oil changes?
Does someone's driveway need sealing? Could they use a lawn mowing service? Would they feel safer if their driveway was plowed during inclement weather?
Is there anyone on your gift-giving list who can't (or won't) cook? What is their favorite meal? What about gift cards to owner-run restaurants? Or a gift certificate for a personal chef to visit their home?
How about an ongoing maid service? Or an in-depth, one-time cleaning?
For those who enjoy using computers - but don't quite "get" them - what about gifting them some instruction? Or, hiring a tech who can ensure their computer is operating efficiently?
Would anyone on your list appreciate a homemade gift by a local crafter? Or a gift certificate to a local quilting, knitting or needlepoint shop?
If the sports enthusiast is on your list, what about sporting goods stores? Outdoor sports shops? Golf games at local courses? Many of them offer specials at various times of the year. And, for those who love golf but hate to play when it's too hot or too cold, what about a gift certificate to Putter Head's Inside Golf Club to save the day?
A different kind of entertainment is available at live venues such as the Sunrise Theater, Moore OnStage -productions, as well as the many other smaller and lesser known theatrical and musical venues. The Golf Capital Chorus, for instance, raises money for charity year-round by singing for individuals and groups, and they have a long list of business -supporters. These are the businesses that should be on our A-list when we are choosing whom we'll do business with.
Sometimes, our loved ones are no longer with us. What about giving a gift in their memory to the local nonprofits such as the Arts Council, Weymouth and other organizations that may have brought them pleasure in the past? These groups are here to serve us year-round, despite very limited budgets.
Books are always welcome. What about a gift card from The Country Bookshop? Or a monetary gift to Given Memorial Library in honor of your special someone? Perhaps a brick or two in their memory on the walkway that winds its way to the library's front door?
Here are some personal recommendations. It's a satisfying feeling to find the right gift for the right person at the right time.
In the eight years we've lived in the Pinehurst area, we've given these gifts several times over, and they've generated rave reviews over and over again.
We've given all of Danny Infantino's Christmas CDs to friends far and wide. To a person, they described them as their "holiday music of choice." The titles we bought at The Country Bookshop are "Of Blessed Beasts and Children," "Of Stars that Brightly Shine," and "Of Kings and Joyful Noises."
Jim Dodson's books offer a wide variety of pleasure. Check out the titles. The two that have garnered the most praise from our recipients have been the moving story of his last golf outing with his father, "Final Rounds." But, his gardening book, "Beautiful Madness: One Man's Journey Through Other People's Gardens," is fascinating, as is "A Son of the Game: A Story of Golf, Going Home, and Sharing Life's Lessons." Golfers and gardeners. Some people would say topics can't get much better than that.
We've either given gift -certificates or accompanied recipients to the 9th of September, a "paint-your-own-pottery" studio in Southern Pines. Owner Eugenie Wing offers just enough how-to help to spark creativity whether or not we've ever wielded a paint brush before. Several of our visitors (from the youngest to the oldest) insist that we visit Eugenie whenever they are in town.
It is, indeed, a give and take between we who -purchase and those who -provide. Our lifestyles are supported by those who are there when we need them, their "Open" signs dancing.
As the email promises, "When we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine."
Diane Wiltjer is a local -freelance writer. If you'd like a copy of "Christmas 2011: Birth of a New Tradition," send a request to her at -email@example.com, and she will email you a copy.
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