Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Montevallo donated toys to Project Christmas at Shelby Emergency Assistance. From left: Emily Blakeman, Ja'quel Williams, Isa Harris and Baxley Shores. (Contributed)
Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Montevallo donated toys to Project Christmas at Shelby Emergency Assistance. From left: Emily Blakeman, Ja'quel Williams, Isa Harris and Baxley Shores. (Contributed)

Be a creative, thoughtful gift giver

Published 12:01pm Tuesday, December 10, 2013

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

I always forget that Christmas can be a stressful time of year for some people, and I’m already beginning to see its effects.

Just last week, a friend asked me, “What do you want for Christmas?”

I shrugged, so she said, “You’re always so hard to buy for. I never know what to get you for Christmas.”

What I really wanted to say, and often do say but to unbelieving ears, was, “I don’t want anything. I have everything I need.”

Does that conversation sound familiar?

If you find yourself in this predicament, with family or with friends, I suggest you be thoughtful and creative with the gifts that you give. Go out of your comfort zone and consider giving your friends and family gifts they might not expect but you know they’ll appreciate.

For instance, Angela Treadaway, regional extension agent for the Shelby County Extension Office, hosted a canning workshop a few weeks ago to teach participants the art of making “gifts from the kitchen.”

She provided a hands-on lesson on the art of canning jams and jellies while also providing participants a packet of recipes and ideas about how to dress up jars for Christmas.

While jars of jelly and jam may seem like small gifts, I can think of several people on my Christmas list who would enjoy them and appreciate the time and effort required to make them. If interested in trying your hand at making carrot cake jam, ginger pear preserves, homemade apple butter or other delicious concoctions, check out this week’s Lifestyles page for more information.

Kathy Copeland, director of governmental and public relations for White Rock Quarries in Vincent, also gave me an interesting gift idea. Copeland has spent several weeks decorating her downtown office in an elaborate array of Christmas decorations for passersby to enjoy. She calls it her “Christmas card to the city of Vincent.”

Again, creativity and thoughtfulness are the keys to successful gift giving.

Many of us don’t need or want stuff. We want gestures that show someone is thinking of us. Do your friends and family, and yourself, a favor this year by trying not to buy meaningless gifts. Spend a little bit more time thinking about it. You never know what you may come up with.

Stephanie Brumfield is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 16.

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