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.

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“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January.”

Thank you, Jim Gaffigan, for the pragmatic synopsis.

LOVE statue in PhiladelphiaThe herd is agitated. Our annual holiday for florists approacheth. There are sure to be a few happy engagements on the 14th, but they’ll be dramatically outnumbered by bad restaurant prix-fixes, droopy roses and Whitman’s Samplers, the Walgreen’s standby for procrastinators.

Shun the madness. Use a bit of creativity this Valentine’s Day. You don’t need to shell out a ton of moolah but you do have to think – just a bit – about your significant other. Here are a few ideas to engage your imagination. Continue reading

Dressing the Part: Super Bowl Volunteer Uniform

I headed down to the Meadowlands Hilton yesterday morning to pick up my Super Bowl volunteer uniform. The line snaked Disneyworld-esque, filling the hotel lobby. Very patient senior volunteers circulated throughout the crowd with sample jackets so folks could try them on.

The wait was over an hour but well worth it. We received our photo id badge, a “thank you for volunteering” certificate, our volunteer playbook and a large mystery box:

©The Open Suitcase LLCIt was like Christmas all over again!

P1010553We were reminded not to wear our gear before reporting for our shift and not to share items with non-volunteers. My daughter said it was like college; apparently there are very strict rules about who can and can’t wear fraternity and sorority letters.

Since I still embrace my inner Girl Scout (“Be Prepared!”), I’ll spend the next couple of weeks prepping facts about my shift locations: 59th and Lex and Midtown/Broadway. If you have a favorite restaurant or sight that you’d recommend, please let me know!

Put Me in, Coach! Super Bowl Volunteers Begin Training

Vince Lombardi Trophy

By JayJizzle [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Surveying the crowd gathered in Mason Hall on the Baruch College campus last night, and you might suspect it was a casting call for Woody Allen’s next movie. The 1,000+ in attendance included students and seniors, well-dressed professionals and slightly smelly street folk; the eager and the edgy, the competent and the crazy. But it wasn’t a movie audition. The NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee advertised for volunteers willing to welcome fans arriving in a few weeks for Super Bowl XLVIII and thousands have stepped forward to join the team.

The Committee spent the past 3 years preparing for the weeklong celebration that kicks off on Sunday, January 26th, culminating in the big game on February 2nd. They plan to post approximately 14,000 volunteers, clad in bright yellow jackets, at area airports, transit hubs, and tourist locations, to provide directions and information to visitors. Applicants who passed a background check were invited to participate in an orientation session, designed to provide an overview of the week’s events and to outline what’s expected of the volunteers. Continue reading

Guest Post: Young at Heart? Consider a Volunteer Vacation

Volunteering abroad is a youthful adventure? I think not…

Volunteering has been misunderstood for many years. It is now seen as an exploration ventured only by the young, an indulgence molded by the ‘gap year’ phenomenon of the past decade, and, as a result, overshadowing the meaning of what volunteering abroad is all about. Late teens, early twenties may be embracing these projects, but it does not mean to say the older generations are not capable and should not participate. Volunteering abroad is an extremely rewarding experience, which will only add meaning to your travels.

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