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Holiday giving question

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    Holiday giving question

    Maybe this should be labeled "off topic" but maybe not. Maybe others with MS face similar questions.

    Every year there are people I like to give holiday gifts to. Some of them need to be sent by mail, and so perishable items might be out of the question, particularly if the people might not be at home at the time when they arrive.

    I've sent gifts of oranges or pears to people, only to find out that they happened to be out of town for several weeks at the time, and the gift got ruined sitting there at their address.

    Some of the people I remember at the holidays are people who can just buy whatever they want and probably prefer to do so instead of getting a gift from someone they hardly ever see or hear from. I don't know much about their preferences, after all, unless I have frequent contact with someone, and these are all people I get news of only a couple of times a year.

    I have a very limited budget this year, thanks to dental work and a rent increase. In years like this in the past I might send many people nice desk calendars but I understand that nobody uses those any more. (I do but then I'm a fossil.) They all keep track of their appointments and other reminders on a mobile device.

    So that old standby is probably out. Another standby was a box of notecards.

    Nobody writes notes any more.

    Then there have been years when a couple of nice dishtowels were a choice but I've done that so often that it's probably a joke in every household I give them to.

    I'm tempted to go with food baskets from some reliable place that I've used in the past. But those are pricey, and there is the risk that the food won't be received in a timely way. People do travel around at the holidays, and I don't know these people's plans for being out of town.

    The mail carrier will get some food item because I understand that mail carriers are allowed to accept such gifts, but not money.

    But the other people? I've thought of small decorative boxes but when ordering online, I could end up with something shabby that looked all right in the photo. Years ago a friend sometimes gave me a couple of such boxes, and I just love them and use them all the time. They're handy as catchalls for small things. I use one for a couple of thumb drives I don't want to lose track of. I use another for spare earbuds. My grandson enjoyed playing with them. I tend to assume that other people might like one as well.

    Aside from these ideas, I'm not coming up with much this time. I'm finding that prices are very high this year.

    I don't know much about these people's activities or hobbies, or I'd try to send something that they could use in those activities. Everyone has to eat, and I'm tempted by some kitchen-related things. One kitchen-supplies catalog seems to specialize in peppermint bark, and I've been looking at their catalogs for decades and noticing that they always feature peppermint bark at this time of year, and some of it isn't too pricey. I've never had peppermint bark but it sounds interesting. Does anyone know?

    Does anyone here have any ideas for less expensive gifts that might please people and at least show them that they're being thought of?

    SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatopa (glatiramer acetate = Copaxone) since December 2020.

    It's nice of you to want to send gifts to people you know, but if they know you, they must also know you are not rich. Even if they don't, I doubt anyone expects so much of you.

    I think a simple card (which I understand you can send electronically now) would suffice. In some cases, a card might even be better. I would be surprised if no one on your Christmas list didn't feel a bit guilty receiving gifts from you. At least a few must if they find themselves opening your gift when they haven't sent one to you.

    This pattern of expectations ruins Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, ad nauseum. If you have to give gifts, I would not pin them to such dates. Gifts given on holidays are pro forma. I don't see much thought behind them at all. Heartfelt wishes expressed in writing are, in my opinion, much more impactful. Giving gifts to people sometimes results in only putting them on the spot.

    I would send a card.

    Hope this helps.


      These are all people whose kindnesses I want to repay. I want to do something to show my appreciation. We're talking about only a few people--about half a dozen in all.

      It's a fact I face every year at about this time--that I depend on the kindness and volunteer efforts of a number of people, and I do like to do some little thing for them, just so they'll know I'm thinking of them.

      I agree that the whole holiday season is pretty meaningless when everyone is just giving things out of a sense of obligation and with little thought to what a person wants or needs.
      SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatopa (glatiramer acetate = Copaxone) since December 2020.


        I don't know how much you are planning to spend, but one thing everyone needs to do is eat.

        An option there would be a gift card from a restaurant. Another might be a card from the grocery store (meaning credit at the grocery store; I don't know if they have those).

        I see a lot of gift cards for chain restaurants on the checkout lines of the grocery store here. I am guessing you can find them online and send them phone-to-phone. I would also guess you can send them via email.

        I bet Amazon has gift cards.

        I believe $25 or so is the starting point for most cards. I don't know if that exceeds your budget, but it's hard for me to think of a truly useful item costing much less. I have no idea what might be useful to a group of individuals I know nothing about. Except, of course, they all have to eat.

        The obvious downside of giving a gift card is, you might as well hand out cash. Some might be offended. The upside is they get to spend the money how they want. More or less. If you give a card for a restaurant, for example, that's the only place they can use it. There is almost no doubt that, whatever they are for, some would recycle them and use them for gifts to others.

        Gift cards. Everybody likes receiving a gift card. More or less.

        Whatever you do, do not send a fruit cake. Nobody likes fruitcakes. More or less.

        Other than that, one has to at least categorize the group by gender. For a man, I could lead you straight to a high-quality pocket knife that costs less than $30. That is assuming, however, the man doesn't already have a pocket knife.

        It's all guesswork.

        Give them a card. That's probably what I would do, if I could afford it.

        Hope this helps.
        Last edited by flatcap; 11-16-2023, 07:40 PM.


          I would look around for gift cards in small amounts. See what all around stores sells them in a denomination you want - someone like Target, Walmart and places like that. Even a pharmacy would be a good idea I think. I buy all kind of things in the pharmacy other than drugs. I doubt that Amazon carries any gift cards for less than $25.00. That is the problem - finding a gift card in the amount you want at a place you want. Even someplace like a ice cream store would be kind of neat I think. We have them all around for frozen yogurt and ice cream. They are cute little shops where you can choose what you want and sit down and eat it at little tables.


            Gift cards are a good idea--and might be the best solution for me this time.

            Even though it's been nearly 6 months since my dramatic fall, I'm still dealing with some of its effects. I should have gone to the eye doctor long ago just to make sure that when I fell on my eyes I didn't do any damage, and I've had a couple of eye symptoms that are probably nothing but probably should be looked into.

            And in 2021 I fell twice in December--bad falls, and my back has never got over one of them. I'm fairly sure I was overdoing at the holiday season. Maybe it's time I learned to take it easier.
            SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatopa (glatiramer acetate = Copaxone) since December 2020.


              I looked it up, and Amazon does have gift cards.

              Only registered and activated users can see links., Click Here To Register...


                Yes, I've given Amazon gift cards in the past, and they work well--not difficult to set up.

                About fruitcakes: I wouldn't dare give anyone a fruitcake now that there have been so many jokes about them. However, years ago my sister and her husband used to send family members a fruitcake that was really quite good, and before that an aunt sometimes sent another type of fruitcake that was also excellent. And they could be sliced very thin and frozen, and they could be stored frozen for a long stretch of time.
                SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatopa (glatiramer acetate = Copaxone) since December 2020.


                  I love peppermint bark.


                    Ikoiko, is it something that could safely sit on someone's porch for a while without deteriorating? In the past once I sent a food gift (fruit, I think) to someone without knowing they were going to be out of town for a couple of weeks, and that gift sat there and I'm afraid must have spoiled though I can't recall.
                    SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatopa (glatiramer acetate = Copaxone) since December 2020.


                      Good point, agate.

                      I had never heard of peppermint bark until now, so I looked it up. It sounds like it would be a good treat for the holidays.

                      One Only registered and activated users can see links., Click Here To Register... I found said this about storing peppermint bark:

                      Storing peppermint bark: You can store this homemade candy for a few days at room temperature, or up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
                      It seems it travels well enough but afterwards needs a little attention. If I were to send some, I would use a leak-proof food storage container with a note showing the date the candy was made and how to store it. It might be consumed right away, but it might not be.


                        Agate: I don't think freezing and melting would be good for it. Nor would hot temperatures. It's white chocolate with peppermint chips in it.

                        I hope I get some this year.


                          Thank you for the information, Ikoiko. I've had doubts about sending chocolate of any kind to people if I thought it might melt somewhere and become an ugly mess. It's a great gift otherwise though. Most people like chocolate and if they can't or don't eat it, they can always give it away.
                          SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatopa (glatiramer acetate = Copaxone) since December 2020.


                            Agate, two of my sister's-in-law don't eat chocolate! But that is very unusual!


                              There are people who break out in a rash or who just don't like chocolate. Then there are those specialists who eat only milk chocolate or only dark chocolate. I'm partial to dark chocolate but will eat chocolate in any form. I've even been known to eat baking chocolate, the bitter kind.
                              SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatopa (glatiramer acetate = Copaxone) since December 2020.