December 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm , by Catherine LeFebvre
It’s getting down to the wire for holiday shopping (only 10 shopping days left ’til Christmas!), so this week we turned to Merrier Shopping‘s June Pfaff Daley for some expert gift-giving advice. She tackled one of the trickier items on most everyone’s list: the family who already has everything.
A few weeks ago, the following reader e-mail came my way:
“Ok, I need help! My kids have it all (I am not bragging.) I want to give them time together as a family. I have 3 daughters with 3 children each and a husband. I would like to put together a package of things to do together. (movie tickets, events, etc. ) not a lot of money, but maybe $100 per family. Any ideas?
Thank you, Sally”
I thought this was a great question. After all, many of us are in the same boat, wondering what to buy a family on our list that already has pretty much everything. I admire Sally for wanting to give them time together as a family. What better gift? Here are several ideas to assemble the perfect family gift:
Family Night Out
One of our favorite family date nights is dinner out and a trip to the bookstore. You could gift a similar evening by purchasing a gift certificate to a local pizza parlor along with a gift certificate to a bookstore. Package the certificates with a classic book like Curious George and the Pizza or More Spaghetti, I Say! to tie the two together. After pizza, the family could go to the book store where every family member gets to pick a book.
Movie Night In
Purchase several classic family-friendly DVDs like The Sound of Music, Annie and The Wizard of Oz. Include a popcorn making machine such as the West Bend Stir Crazy (we love ours!) or the Presto Hot Air Popper. Include popcorn kernels along with movie-size boxed candies. You could also include cups with lids so drinks can be enjoyed with no spills on the family carpet.
The kitchen is the center of a home, so give the family a reason to hang out there together. Include cooking aprons for the entire family. You might want to pick a type of food to center your baking/cooking gift around. For a cookie-making gift, purchase whimsical cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles. A breakfast feast could include a waffle iron, waffle mix, and a variety of flavored syrups. An Italian-themed gift could feature a pasta making machine, pasta sauces, bread mixes and grated cheese. For any of these you could include a recipe book that offered a variety of versions of the food the gift is centered around.
The Great Outdoors
If you are gifting a family of nature lovers, consider putting together a gift that includes nature books featuring local plant and animal life, a compass, trail mix, binoculars, fire starter, marshmallow/hotdog roasting sticks and reusable water bottles.
Purchase several board games based on the ages of the family. If the children can’t yet read, focus on games that don’t require it, like Candy Land or picture Bingo. Or you might want to purchase video games for a game system the family already owns. Be sure to include a variety of snacks.
A membership to a local zoo, children’s museum, amusement park or aquarium is a gift that can be enjoyed all year long. If you are gifting a zoo or aquarium membership think about packaging it with several small stuffed animals or a container of plastic animals. A gift to a children’s museum could be packaged with a plastic dinosaur, building blocks or other small versions of what they are likely to find at the actual museum. You also could visit the gift shop where you buy the membership and purchase several small trinkets that include the name of the place you are gifting.
After you’ve decided on a gift theme, think about how you might package it. A basket is an obvious choice, but try to think outside the box (or basket, as it were) . I know that my home is overrun with baskets. What type of container might fit the theme of your gift even better, but also have a useful purpose once the gift is unpackaged? For example, if you are doing a baking theme perhaps a large plastic mixing bowl could hold everything that you’d like to include. A backpack could house the components of an outdoor basket. Even a laundry basket could serve as a useful container after the gift is opened. Include a note that says, “Forget about the laundry and have fun with the family!”
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