It seems the economy is on everyone’s mind right now and I’m no exception. I have a few creative gift ideas to share with those of you who have more Christmas shopping to do.

1.  Make a donation in someone’s name to a cause they’re passionate about. Last year, I made a donation in my mom’s name to an animal rescue organization.


2.  Have a book-lover on your list? Then, put some sizzle in their stocking with Cynthia Eden’s Midnight Sins. Cynthia’s intriguing characters, fast-paced suspense, and steamy love scenes will leave you panting for more. Check out the excerpt…you know you want to.


Midnight Sins by Cynthia Eden

Midnight Sins by Cynthia Eden


If you have a younger reader, may I suggest Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. The book club I’m a member of (Witty and Wicked Books) read this in October. I must admit, I was skeptical about reading a young adult novel, but my doubts were quickly replaced by that “I gotta see what happens next” rush.


3.  Give a gift certificate from a locally-owned business. Think of all the locally-owned businesses in your area: restaurants, boutiques, day spas, gift shops, etc. You can treat your loved ones to something they may not normally indulge in while supporting your local economy. Be sure to ask if the gift certificate expires.


4.  Homemade items make great gifts. Fresh-baked goodies, homemade candles, knitted scarves… Everyone has a talent. What’s yours?


5.  Even if you’re not the next Martha Stewart, you can give something that has a personal touch. Try decorating a store-bought picture frame. Have a favorite picture to include? Even better! Have a lot of photos? Then, do a scrapbook or photo album.


6.  Don’t forget the pets and pet-lovers in your life. Homemade dog biscuits make for a thoughtful gift. You can find cute and inexpensive cookie cutters at your local craft store. I did this as a surprise for our friends after a “play date” at the dog park and it was a hit. Michael’s carries plastic take-out boxes in a variety of designs and sizes including one with paw prints on it. So cute! * Make sure you have a pet-specific recipe. Certain foods we love can be toxic to our pets (i.e. chocolate, grapes, etc.). Rachael Ray has a pet page on her site with loads of pet-friendly recipes


7.  Play DJ for a day and make a CD or playlist of their favorite music. Call me cheesy, but I long for the good ol’ days of making mixed tapes. I remember as a young girl, making a mad dash across my room when my favorite song came on the radio – scrambling to press the button in time and praying that there was enough room left on the tape to record the whole song.


8.  Most everyone on your list probably has a chore they dread or simply cannot do (i.e. car washing, raking, etc.). Volunteer to complete the chore for them. You can simply offer to assist them if it’s a particularly large task (i.e. painting the house).


9.  Don’t want to give something? Time together is the greatest gift of all. Make a memory with your loved ones. Is there somewhere they’ve just been dying to go (i.e. art exhibit, play, concert, new restaurant, etc.)? For Mother’s Day, I took my mom for afternoon tea at Shamrock, Rose, & Thistle, a cute, locally-owned tea parlor. We had a great time and it’s become our go-to place when we need a girls’ day.


10. There may be someone in your life going through a particularly rough patch right now. If that’s the case, reflect on their situation and how you can help them bounce back.


Maybe you have a friend who’s insecure because of a break-up. Many of the make-up counters offer complimentary makeovers so take your friend and get one for yourself too! Of course, you’ll have to listen to their sales pitch and will probably end up buying a product or two that you just have to have.


Know someone who’s been laid off or fears they will be soon? Offer to help them re-vamp their resume. A fresh perspective can make all the difference. There are many helpful resume sites, including Resume Resource and eResumes.


Be creative and think outside the box this Christmas. And don’t forget to spread some Christmas cheer! Here’s my gift to you…childlike enthusiasm during this holiday season.