5 Ideas for Holiday Giving in a New Economy

Photo by Alice Harold

If your year-end is like our year-end, it’s stuffed with deadlines and year-end reporting, as well as projections and strategy for 2013. Add to that a long list of holiday parties and all of the errands that go with year-end holiday festivities – gifts, party preparations, travel, decorating – and it seems as if December is a whirlwind of demands.

Here are a few gift ideas that can simplify your holiday season, and get an enthusiastic response from the Millennials on your list:

1) The new economy is increasingly about collaborative consumption. Rather than focusing on giving objects, give access to services, such as IGO Cars here in Chicago or Zipcar nationwide. Instead of a DVD, give a Netflix or new RedBox streaming subscription.

2) Give a tool that gives access, such as an ebook reader. For older relatives, a tablet can be a user-friendly way to keep in touch via FaceTime or Skype, and the voice-to-text features can be helpful for slow or out-of-practice typers.

3) Give a gift that supports your community. Support your local entrepreneurs and artisans by giving something handmade. Sites like Etsy or Zazzle can help you find something unique in your area. A gift of fresh produce from a local farm with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription is a great inspiration for foodies, or give a gift certificate to your favorite local restaurant. Supporting local and independent businesses, especially if you pay with cash, keeps money within your community. You can also support your global community by buying products like JustShea that create a greater good.

4) Give an experience. Millennials are hungry for experiences and want the opportunity to see the world up close. Plan a family vacation or a service-oriented volunteer trip abroad or domestically. Closer to home, plan a day to be a tourist in your city, attend a show or a music festival together, or volunteer as a group with a local charity. Spending time away from the distractions of screens builds the human connections that Millennials crave.

5) Teach a man to fish. Give those in your family the gift of your time and expertise. Offer to show a family member your secret recipe, teach them to do your favorite craft, or use your professional skill set to help them start a business, design an album cover, or build a website. Start a woodworking or home improvement project together, or literally teach them to fish.

Have a stress-free and collaborative holiday!

Guest post by Ellen Willett