Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fibro-Friendly Holidays: A Guide to Gifts that Teach, Share or Help

Holiday Gocco Gift tags - Nature - set of 5Image by Sarah Parrott via Flickr

Let me help you create a unique and inspired gift for each person on your list this holiday season.

The easiest way to get started is to think about the things you could teach someone else, an event or activity you could share with someone else or how you could help someone else out. Whatever you offer, make sure that the activity is reasonable and doable for you, i.e. fibro-friendly. That means it keeps you in your energy envelope so you minimize flare-ups of your symptoms. Take control and be specific about the particulars. For example, let the recipient know how long the session will last and how far in advance they need to schedule with you to redeem their gift coupon.

Keep in mind the "come to me" element of your gift. The recipient will be coming to you to receive your offer, whether that's at your home or a location of your choosing. Also consider mentioning the retail price of what you are offering to emphasize the value of your gift--just Google the service you'll provide and see how much it would cost to hire someone instead. Since your gift coupon builds in an opportunity for social time, it goes without saying that you will only offer your gifts to people you would enjoy spending time with.

Here are some fibro-friendly ideas:

  • Offer one-on-one arts and crafts classes like crocheting, knitting, scrap booking, music lessons, flower arranging, photography or jewelry making and provide the supplies for a basic project.
  • Provide hands-on, in-person instruction for skills like cooking, baking, canning and preserving food, gardening, household organizing and decorating, resume writing or meditation.
  • Help someone become more computer savvy by showing them how to troubleshoot computer problems, design a website or blog or use a specific computer program.

  • Invite your friend to join a book group with you and offer to pay for the first 3 books.
  • With a mutual interest in mind, ask a friend to attend a community college extension course with you and pick up the tab.
  • Share a day at the museum, an evening lecture, a concert or play at a local community performing arts center, a harbor cruise, a picnic at the park, a day at the beach or an afternoon at the movies.
  • Do something with your friend their spouse and kids won't--eat at an ethnic food restaurant, go to a chick flick, take a mud bath, go see the wildflowers blooming in the desert or volunteer together.
  • Offer the opportunity to come browse your CD collection and load songs to a new iPod. Or give blank recipe cards, a recipe box and an invitation to browse your cookbook and recipe collection.
  • Share the harvest in your vegetable garden or from your fruit trees by giving a pick-your-own produce coupon.


  • Get your friend set up on social media websites by helping them create their own email, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and/or blog account.
  • Help them learn how to use their new technology gifts, like a lap top computers, digital camera or camcorder, iPod and MP3 player or Blackberry smartphone.
  • Offer to help organize a CD, DVD or book collection. Or offer to help organize photographs, either online or into a photo album.
  • Provide your services as a babysitter, pet sitter or house sitter. You can specify whether the kids and pets come to your house or if the recipient needs to come and pick you up when redeeming the coupon.
  • Be a personal Internet shopper or web researcher for a day; help the recipient find the best price for a purchase or the online information they need.
  • Make yourself available as a proofreader for the writers or a tutor for the students in your life.

I hope this helps get you started in your quest to offer personalized gift coupons to your family and friends this holiday season. As for me, I'd LOVE to get a coupon for some help decluttering and cleaning my house. Proofreading, a book club buddy, a trip to the Getty Museum, a sushi lunch and pet sitting would be cool too.

What do you think about giving gifts that teach, share and help? I'd love to hear what you think, so please leave me a comment.
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