Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fibro-Friendly Holidays: Unique and Inspired Gifts

Whimsical Christmas TreeImage by Salihan.com via Flickr

Dreading going to the mall to do your Christmas shopping? Me too! It's amazing how fibromyalgia turned something I loved doing into something I now hate doing. Going shopping means being subjected to too much stimulation from crowds, lighting and noise, too much activity from walking, carrying packages and interacting with others and lots of fatigue and increased pain afterward.

There has to be a better way, right? Well, I think I have found it.

Despite chronic illness, I know that I have talents, abilities and knowledge that other people admire. It just took me a while to reconnect to them after I started living my daily life with chronic disabling illnesses. My list includes, among other things: container gardening, Knifty knitting, crocheting Amigurumis (an example pictured at the top), blogging, cooking and pets.

Like me, I know you have talents, abilities and knowledge that other people would love to learn, share or receive. Take some time to contemplate what they are and you might be surprised how many you can list. Once you see what you can offer, why not share these gifts with your family and friends?

I realize that the concept of making a coupon and giving it as a present is nothing new. I make it fibro-friendly by adding the element "come to me." For example: This coupon entitles you to a 2 hour Amigurumi crochet lesson at my home and all supplies are included. Please call to schedule one week in advance and come prepared to have fun!

Now let's say that you don't have time to get the supplies before the lesson. Well then, make the trip to the craft store part of the lesson and ask the recipient to drive you there. Then let them pick out their own yarn and crochet hooks which you will purchase for them. Along the way, teach them about the different kinds of hooks and yarns available and how to pick out and read a pattern book.

Why do I think this is a unique and inspired gift?

Let's consider for a moment how much it might cost if you were to pay for a crochet lesson for the recipient. A quick Google search and I found an Amigurumi group crochet class in Los Angeles that costs $40, materials not included. Also consider that these gifts include a hidden gem--the opportunity to spend time with the people in your life. Plus, as I mentioned before, with the built-in "come to me" factor, you expend your energy on the activity, not on going Christmas shopping. Plus any costs associated with your gift coupon are deferred until after the crazy, busy and often cash-strapped holiday season.

Tomorrow I promise to expand on this idea. This includes a guide to creating your own personalized gift coupons using one of three categories: teach, share and help. I will also provide more examples of this concept in action.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think about my unique and inspired, not to mention fibro-friendly, gift coupon idea. As always, share your feedback by using the Leave A Comment button below.

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