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Thoughtful Christmas Gift Ideas 2013

Every year, thousands of sausages and dress shirt-and-tie boxed sets are wrapped and put under the tree. Every year you open the scented candle from Aunt Mabel and try to look ecstatic. You watch your father try to muster enthusiasm for the four-in-one tool set that he seems to collect by the dozens. You fear that if your daughter opens one more reindeer Christmas sweater, she’ll lose all semblance of manners and make a rude comment to Grandma Joyce. Surely there must be more to Christmas than the same boring gift sets and bric-a-brac! Sometimes a little thought is all it takes to offer your friends and loved ones a truly unique gift – something they’ll actually appreciate. It isn’t just the thought that counts… your gift should reflect the recipient’s personality, taste and style. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Give a Goat
Heifer International $120.00

Have you ever given a goat as a gift? Don’t worry — you don’t have to actually bring the goat to the family party. Heifer International, a non-profit charity, offers a great way for you to help people all over the world this year. Buy a goat for the low price of $120.00. Or, if that’s too much to spend, buy a share of a goat for $10.00. The goat is given to a needy family, along with education on how to care for it. The milk from the goat aides in the family’s nutrition, and extra milk can be sold for money or bartered for other needed goods. The family can also breed their goat and then give a kid to another family to pass along the good fortune. Animals in all price ranges are available to give, from $20 chickens to $500 heifers. Donate online at heifer.org, then send your loved one an email card, or choose one to print out on their site.

Treasure Chest

Just can’t think of anything to buy for the teenager or senior citizen on your list? Maybe you typically write them a check or put cash in their Christmas card. While they definitely appreciate the cash, it’s not a very exciting gift. Mix things up a little this year. Go to your local bank and request gold dollar coins. The U.S. coins feature Sacagawea on one side and a flying eagle on the other. These coins aren’t circulated much, so they are usually pretty shiny. Then, go to your local craft store and find a small wooden treasure chest (these are usually offered unpainted and are typically less than $5.00). You can paint the box, or leave it plain. Fill it up with gold coins and wrap it. Your loved one will be thrilled to have gold coins and can use the box for small knick knacks later.

Give the Gift of Travel
$50.00 – $5,000.00

Give them the chance to see the world! For the person in your life who enjoys traveling, a free airline ticket or trip is a unique, thoughtful gift. Major airlines offer gift cards or gift certificates that you can order online. You can purchase a cruise or vacation through your local travel agency. To present the gift, pair the gift certificate with something for the trip — a bottle of sunscreen and a beach towel, for example. If you can’t afford an entire trip, buy a smaller gift certificate, or go in together with other family members for a joint gift.

Amish Friends Cookbook
by Wanda E. Brunstetter 

The culinary master in your life probably owns dozens of cookbooks, but the odds are pretty good that he doesn’t own this one. This 224-page book offers delicious recipes for bread, main dishes, desserts and even homemade jams. Each section begins with information about the Amish and their way of life. For down-to-earth, hearty meals with centuries of tradition, this cookbook is truly unique.

Sure-Pak Genuine GI Military MRE Meals Ready to Eat 12 Pack

Chances are, your loved ones won’t find themselves in a trench on the front line, but MREs come in handy. You can take them hunting or backpacking and enjoy a hot meal in the middle of nowhere; they’re lightweight and easy to prepare. Keep them in your trunk as part of your emergency kit in case you get trapped in one a snowstorm. Or, keep them at home in case of natural disasters. The possibilities are endless! These are the real deal, created by a contractor for the U.S. government. The kit includes twelve MREs with a main dish, crackers with spread, side dish and even dessert. Coffee and a powdered sweet drink round out the meal. Utensils included as well. For an even more thoughtful gift, include a lightweight backpacker’s stove.

AAA 77 Piece Warrior Road Assistance Kit

If your loved one gets stranded while out on the road, is she prepared? This kit offers some reassurance. It comes with an extensive first aid kit, jumper cables, an air compressor and an array of other tools such as a flashlight, screwdriver set and multifunction tool. Fleece gloves, hat and scarf will keep her warm if she’s stuck out in the cold, and a rain poncho will keep her dry in wet conditions. Other useful items, such as bungee cords, duct tape and tire gauge are included, as well. The kit stays organized in a vinyl zippered bag with handle. For an added bonus, include a AAA annual membership.

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