Sometimes the rush of the holidays can shift our focus from less is more to more is better. We forget to simplify and get swept away by sales, deals, and stretch our budgets more than necessary. After all, the season is very much about magical surprises and unflinching generosity. But special gifts don't have to be complicated; after all, the love behind the gift is the most important and magical part.
I've got one idea that can make your holiday shopping simpler and more focused; I call it a gift tradition. Instead of rushing around to find the perfect scarf for her, the best tie for him, or the toy with all the tiny parts for your godson, why not get everyone on your list the same thing? Pick a hardcover book for each person, write a hearfelt note in the cover, wrap and give! Or maybe you'd rather pick a special ornament or holiday decoration each year? Got a sweet tooth? Hit up your favorite treat vendor and get something for everyone! Or maybe everyone on your list needs a pair of Tom's shoes? (My twin sister gets credit for that idea!)
Below are a few book suggestions that just might work for everyone on your list. Each selection is under $16!
* Gregory Boyle's Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion is the lastest offering from the Jesuit priest who founded and runs Homeboy/Homegirl Industries in Los Angeles. All proceeds from book sales support the gang intervention programs which are making such a huge impact in East LA.
* Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer is written by Nancy Brinker of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Laugh, cry, and learn about this important cause.
* Who can resist classic, comforting recipes? Check out the newest book -- Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten (and it is 50% off)!
* This collection of legends, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, is a favorite at our house. The beautiful pictures are interesting enough for a toddler and the stories are great for emerging readers.
* This final suggestion -- a collection of travel photos by the creators of Lonely Planet -- costs a little more but who doesn't love an amazing coffee table book.
Imagine going into one bookstore or visiting one online bookseller and being 100% done with your holiday shopping. Not only cheap and cheerful, but also merry and bright!
Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: Do you have a gift tradition? Or, if you were to start one, what one cool item would you pick?