Not-so-traditional holiday gift ideas

The spirit of giving is falling upon us as the holiday season is finally in sight. It’s the time for spending quality hours with loved ones, both friends and family, enjoying hearty meals and seasonal treats (and the process of preparing them), dragging decorations and lights from the attic to adorn the Christmas tree and home, and last but not least, spending hours scurrying to the perfect gift for said loved ones.

There’s only so many ties, pieces of jewelry and electronics to give someone before they’ve accrued an enormous amount, so that belies the question what do you give someone who has everything? With that in mind, The Examiner has committed to dishing out a few ideas for the hard-to-buy-for man and/or woman.

Everyone loves seeing a gift card in their stocking, and while getting a Visa prepaid card ensures the recipient will be able to spend the funds on something they enjoy, taking the time to pick out a local boutique or shop guarantees the money spent will go straight into the local economy.

According to the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce’s president Jim Rich, when a dollar is spent in a local business, it’s shown that it circulates through the area three to seven times.

“Restaurants, businesses – that’s what makes the economy go,” he said. “That’s how you have a fire department and a police department. It’s easy to think (shopping) is better in Houston. Then people will get on the Internet, look for the best deal and buy online. But there will always be a day people want to buy something from someone nearby that they know and trust.”

The only problem – picking which one of the countless stores to get a gift card from.

While clothing stores are an obvious choice, other options may include something that the recipient needs, rather than wants.

One simple option that everyone can use is a trip to the barber or salon. With countless new ‘dos spread across the pages of magazines and televisions, keeping up with the quickly changing trends often means taking a trip to a nearby salon for an up-to-date hair style. While women are particularly known for shelling out money at a salon for a cut, dye and body wave, men, too, fall victim to biology, and require a trim from time to time.

And nowadays, hair isn’t the only thing taken care of in the salon world. A number of local salons also offers services such as manicures, pedicures, facials, body wraps and massages that can ensure a day of relaxation.

As far as traditions go, with the New Year falling just a week after Christmas, it’s inevitable that a number of friends, family members and coworkers will commit to ridding themselves of a few extra pounds they packed on while partaking in Thanksgiving and holiday feasts in the form of a New Year’s resolution. Even if losing weight isn’t their goal, but rather  just to be healthier, a gym membership can satisfy that need and could give them the motivation they need to keep up the work.

A number of local gyms can provide for a membership of varying length depending on the buyer’s choosing or even gift cards that would allow the user to pay for a membership or to purchase products from the facility.

Also on the list of things everyone needs, but rarely likes to pay for – oil changes, car washes, lawn maintenance, and home repairs are just a few.

Entertainment is a great option also. Throughout the holiday season, there are countless events scheduled to take place all across Southeast Texas.

Ballets such as the Beaumont Ballet Theatre and the Beaumont Civic Ballet have upcoming performances with tickets readily available. And a short drive east will land theater lovers at the Lutcher Theater in Orange, which has a whole host of shows coming up, including a Dec. 29 performance by Manheim Steamroller that will feature Christmas classics.

If art is more up their alley, Southeast Texas is flourishing with museums that give admittance for a small nominal fee or sometimes for free. An evening out with a loved one you don’t get to spend much time with is sure to please, especially if dinner is included.

For those with a philanthropic heart, they undoubtedly would say that the best gift is the gift of giving.

When the person you are shopping for already has everything they could ever need or want, it can often make them happy just to be kept in mind during the holiday season. A gift that will in turn keep giving is the gift of charity. And a simple way to do so is to make a donation to a nonprofit organization in the name of your loved one.

It takes just a few simple steps – contact the organization, send them the donation with the name of the person it’s made in honor of as well as their address. Many nonprofits will send a card notifying them a donation was made.

As the Scottish author George MacDonald once said, “If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.”