Holiday gift-giving and shopping can be one of the most exhausting, least enjoyable parts of the Christmas and holiday season. But present shopping can also be great fun with holiday gift-giving themes. Here’s one: books. Ever since I began to homeschool our children, back in 1993, we have chosen a holiday theme for our gift-giving. Each gift recipient on our holiday shopping list gets a personalized gift in that theme. I’ve done a blanket theme, gift basket theme, food theme, magazine theme, tote-bag theme and several years ago, we made the theme: books and literature. Here’s how it worked.
First, we made a list of everyone on our list for whom we would buy a gift. Next we brainstormed, as a family, what each person’s interests were: arts, photography, cooking, motorcycles, history, travel, animals, crafts, religion, etc. We identified several hobbies or interests for each person. If they were reading a certain series or had a favorite author, we noted that.
Next, we set a budget to spend on each person. This is an important tool to keep your holiday spending at a manageable level. It is also an excellent tool to use with your children to teach them about budgeting and economics.
We made a point to visit local bookstores and national chains such as B. Dalton and Barnes and Noble. We visited and browsed through secondhand book stores. We checked on pricing at online book vendors like Amazon. For some people on our shopping list, we already knew ahead of time which books we were looking for. My father was reading Rex Stout. My mother reads Bodie Theune. Our eldest son reads Stephen King. We made a list of which books each person hadn’t read. Other gift books were more challenging. Several aunts and uncles are hobby readers; we were on the prowl for subject books like vegan cooking and WWII airplanes.
To keep our shopping within a budget, I made a sort of game out of holiday shopping; it was a competition to see who could find the rock bottom price. If we found a couple of Rex Stout books for a quarter a piece, but had to pay $10 for Grandma’s crossword book, I added a journal and pen set or calendar to the 75 cent gift. And don’t worry that people won’t want secondhand books. Readers love to receive copies of beloved books and a bargain just makes it all the better. My entire Agatha Christie collection has come from rummage sale shelves and bargain bins. Each time I find a new title to add to my collection, it’s like adding a diamond to my tennis bracelet.
Try a book and literature Christmas or holiday gift-giving theme. You’ll enjoy it as much as everyone on your gift-giving list. For more on holiday activities, visit me at www.thechristmasseason.blogspot.com and www.giftgivingguides.blogspot.com. and www.diypartyplanner.blogspot.com. Happy Holidays.