It’s Tuesday – Begin with the Need

“Santa Claus, go straight to the ghetto. Hitch up you reindeer, Uh! And go straight to the ghetto.” ~ the late great James Brown.

It’s Tuesday and there are officially 12 days before Christmas.

Fam, if you’re anything like me, funds are tight this year and you’re trying to think of creative-as-close-to-free-as-possible gifts you can give your loved ones.

Man! Christmas was soooo much easier when I was a kid. Back then, I had no disposable income of my own…Well, unless you count the $100 my Grandma Margaret gave me once after she hit on a number I gave her for the lottery…

Illegal gambling proceeds aside, the only option I had as a child was to give heartfelt gifts. I would write a poem, scribble down a story or draw a picture for my family in a minute.

One year, my sister and I even created a Christmas coupon catalogue for my mom.  Chock-full of redeemable gifts such as a foot rub or a homemade spaghetti dinner, Momma took full advantage of our heartfelt gifts. Trust.

But once we got older and began earning our own money, the Yuletide macaroni cards got kicked to the curb. Instead, we maxed out our credit cards, purchasing stuff – things our Momma and Dem wanted, but not necessarily needed.

Well, Fam, it’s 20 years later now and it’s Christmas again. And thanks to the Recession, I’m about go Old School.

Of course, you’re welcome to join me. But just like Neo decided whether to swallow the red or blue pill in The Matrix, you, too, have a choice to make: Either spend money you don’t have on expensive gifts your family members will appreciate for all of 10 seconds or invest in something that costs nothing, yet is long-lasting.

Can you dig it? I knew that you could.

Giving and receiving gifts for four decades now, I’ve learned that the best gifts are chosen based on the giftee’s personality, lifestyle, quirks, likes and dislikes. In fact, if you were honest with yourself, I bet the best gift you ever got had nothing to with how much it cost.

Alright. Now that I’ve reinforced the real skinny behind gift giving, your assignments as the giver this Christmas season are:

1. CONSIDER THE RECIPIENT. It’s not about what you like or what you feel they should like. Consider first the needs and interests of the person you are buying for. Prime example: My mom lives at Walgreens. I don’t know why. A couple of Christmases ago, I was low on funds, so I purchased her a $50 Walgreens gift card. Don’t you know my husband and I bought her a flat screen t.v. the year before and this woman raved more about that Walgreens gift card? LOL!

2. BEGIN WITH THE NEED. In some cases, giving a gift that fulfills a want is a good thing. Other times, the best present for your giftee could turn out to be the thing they don’t first think of, but could really use. 

3. GIVE A UNIQUE, BUT FUNCTIONAL GIFT. O.K. husbands, this does not mean buying your wife a new vacuum cleaner. How about a few  bath bombs for a frazzled new mom in need of alone time or a cozy neck pillow for the jet setter in your life?

4. SHARE YOUR TALENTS. You like to bake or are handy with a hammer? Give a gift basket of goodies or a coupon for handy work. Who doesn’t like cookies or have something that needs fixing in their home? 

5. GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME. The most valuable gift of them all. As an artistpreneur and writer, my schedule is my own. Hence, my time has become my most valued currency and I you best believe I’m careful with how I spend it. 

For example,  every Thanksgiving, I don’t leave Detroit without washing my sister clothes. Not only does she not have time to do laundry, she absolutely hates doing it. So, since I don’t visit home for Baby Jesus’ birthday, I’ve made it my annual early Christmas gift to her. 

6.  Last, but not least, SHARE THE THOUGHT. Include a note with your gift, or be ready to verbally tell your giftee why you chose it. As the adage, “It’s the thought that counts,” illustrates — sometimes knowing the why behind the what can be more meaningful than the gift itself.

O.K., Fam. That’s all got. Hope the helps you figure out what you’re going to gift your loved ones with this year.

Remember: BEGIN WITH THE NEED…As in the need to keep your money and your sanity. LOL!

Merry Christmas and God Bless. 🙂

Fam, these tips don’t only work for Christmas. They can be utilized for any occasion. How have you began with the need to give a loved one a meaningful gift?


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