In Times of Financial Peril….There’s Still A Season for Giving

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Rona Carr

The tradition of giving a present during a holiday season or on a special occasion (e.g., birthday, graduation, etc.), during a fiscal depression requires a spirit of generosity, creativity, some thought and a good sense of humor. Acknowledging friends and family, saying ‘thank you’ to clients and co-workers, spending quality time with people you enjoy, is an opportunity to be a bright moment in someone’s life.

The following ideas will provide guidance to those who are expanding their concept of a ‘gift’ to include an experience or a small service, and who appreciate the joys of family, friendship, and the company of valued colleagues.

Gifts of personal service:

  • Baby-sit children or others, especially on a weekend, for those who would like some time off
  • Tutor a youth, student, or adult in your favorite subject, hobby, or something you do really well and enjoy
  • Volunteer at a not for profit organization of your choice
  • Prepare a home-cooked meal for someone, or a group of people you enjoy
  • House-sit for someone who’s going away for a period of time
  • Read aloud to a senior person, child, or someone disabled
  • Create a CD of someone’s favorite music
  • Pet sit for an owner who doesn’t want their ‘best friend’ to be lonely, or go hungry while they’re away
  • Load someone’s iPod with their favorite music
  • If you’re handy with tools and materials, make repairs around someone else’s house or apartment
  • Be a personal ‘go-for’ to someone who could use an extra pair of hands for errands
  • Spend personal time with someone you enjoy – going for a walk, seeing a movie, visiting a museum or gallery
  • Renew your experience in the art of conversation with someone whose company you have missed
  • Car pool friends, family, children and others to social activities
  • Grocery shop for or with someone who’s unable to shop on their own easily
  • Be the designated driver for family or friends
  • Help someone start a personal garden (who doesn’t need help weeding?!  visit:
  • Teach someone how to play a musical instrument
  • Coach a team sport ( visit:
  • Repair a child’s toy ( visit:
  • Host a board game/jigsaw puzzle night
  • Distribute customized I.O.U.’s to friends, family, and significant others for an activity together

As a business owner:

  • Host a low budget holiday party designed by the employees
  • As a group, volunteer at a local not for profit organization
  • If possible, schedule reduced hours for the holidays or special ocassion
  • Give employees a free subscription to Netflix,  visit:
  • Compile a collection of everyone’s favorite recipe as an on-line holiday gift

Gift cards are convenient. To know that someone has spent lots of money on your gift is flattering. An elaborate professionally gift wrapped present can leave someone speechless.  But time with people that you care about, or the delivery of a service that contributes to the quality of someone else’s life, well, that’s an unforgettable memory to be treasured forever. It’s priceless.

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