When it comes to the state of the economy I’ll leave the reports in the hands of the Bureau of Labor and others who monitor statistical data. I’m more interested in what’s happening on the streets in the communities I work in.
Here the dollar is weak, cost of food, gas, taxes and utilities continue to rise. All too many count pennies, live paycheck to paycheck and are seriously concerned about possible layoffs and foreclosures ahead. For many, holiday gift giving this year trends toward the practical.
Luxury gifts may not be appropriate this year. Even bargains, may not be viable for many. In these kinds of circumstances we look for gifts that do double duty . it is possible to keep expenses low, support the local economy and still enjoy good old-fashioned seasonal merriment. it just a little imagination.
Consider gift certificates. These are gifts that do double duty. A gift certificate that pays for dinner for two at a local restaurant you particularly enjoy in your own neighborhood….or a gift certificate that covers the cost of an hour or two of babysitting or computer repair services supports a local worker while affording the recipient a gift that could well be worth its weight in gold. Or, take it even one step further and give a gift certificate that entitles the recipient to an hour or two of your own personal time and services.
Consider, also, bringing celebrations back home. Festive parties at home among family and friends have always been among our most precious memories – and those have not necessarily been the events that have been most expensive. These kinds of gatherings can be build around such inexpensive activities as pulling taffy, making divinity fudge or popcorn balls and playing board and card games.
When deciding what to give family and friends, remember: Value is not determined by how many dollars are spent.