Gifting Outside the Box

Let’s start with the facts. No guy wants another tie. And no woman wants a gift card.

What do you get for the boomer who has more than they need or want? Most of my friends are packing up their possessions and selling them on eBay, giving them away on Freecycle or donating them to local charities.

But ‘tis the traditional gift-giving season. In addition to Hanukah and Christmas, I’m still attending milestone birthday parties. Since I hate to shop and am a terrible wrapper, I usually choose experiential gifts to mark these occasions. I’ll take a friend to dinner or give them concert tickets. There are so many great new bands out there playing in small, local venues; it’s an easy way to make a 50-year old feel twenty again.

Or, if you know someone who’s longed for a bit of Indiana Jones-like adventure, how about the chance to play amateur archeologist? It’s a unique gift for person in your life who wants nothing.

Looking for a unique gift for a guy? Consider an Adventures in Preservation trip.

Photo: The Fairfield Foundation.

Continue reading

A Worthwhile Detour in the Poconos

Open up your monthly calendars for April, May, and June. Have a few bridal showers and graduation parties to attend? If so, and you’re heading to Northeast Pennsylvania to ski Camelback one last time or you’re attempting to win your next car payment in the casinos at Mt. Airy or Pocono Downs, consider a slight detour to stock up on kitchen staples any bride or college grad would be happy to receive.

Fiesta Ware ©The_Open_Suitcase_LLC

It doesn’t matter what you serve because these rainbow-hued plates are guaranteed to make your guests smile.

Continue reading

For Me? Gifts For The Gal Who Wants Nothing

I may be the world’s worst gift recipient. My first unspoken reaction is “Aww. This is nice but what I really wanted was (insert anything but the given gift).” My second? “You shouldn’t have. Really. I mean it.” My not-big-to-begin-with house continues to shrink because of stuff accumulation. I’m purging not purchasing. Anyone who rings the doorbell is greeted with a take-away offer. Yesterday the solar panel guy refused 2 table lamps, a dartboard and a George Foreman grill. The nerve. But that’s okay. It’s almost Girl Scout cookie season and they’re trained to be polite, right?

Birthday cake with candles via shutterstock\Santhosh Varghese Continue reading

Christmas Markets: Perfect Holiday Shopping

Purchasing ornaments when traveling is a common activity, correct? When I stumble upon a Christmas shop, I tumble in and pick up at least one decoration to commemorate the trip. My favorite is a snow-capped cactus I found in Sedona. A major storm hit while I was there, knocking out the power at the Enchantment Resort. The area’s famous red rocks were transfigured by the snow and I appreciated the event; that is, after wrapping my head around the understanding that there’d be no hot coffee.

Traveling specifically for ornaments is a niche peculiar to the Christmas season. Markets abound here in the States and abroad and browsing through one is an easy way to jump-start your holiday ho-ho-ho.

German markets feature stalls peddling glühwein (mulled wine). I’d like to tell you it tastes better than it sounds, but it doesn’t. And it smells like “Sunday Morning in the Frat House.”

Continue reading