by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: If a gift-giving event is on the horizon, discuss with others the option of not exchanging present or of keeping gifts simpler.
To give someone a gift of your time may be the most precious gift you can offer someone. Whatever your schedule looks like, devoting a few hours to a friend or family member lets that person know how you value your relationship.
And, of course, a gift of time is truly a minimalist gift with a maximum effect. When giving this type of gift, consider what the individual would most appreciate and what you are able to give. While some of these clutter-free gifts cost nothing, not all are free.
Homemade Gift Certificates
Your first impression may be that homemade gift certificates for a service you can offer belong to the realm of poor teenagers and college students. However, whatever your age, you can offer a specialized service or skill that will be appreciated by the person you are giving the gift to.
Consider things that you enjoy doing or don’t mind offering to do for someone else. Be specific – are you offering to mow someone’s lawn once or once a week throughout the summer? Don’t undervalue your gift just because you aren’t spending money and end up committing to doing more than you can comfortably fit into your schedule.
Presenting Your Gift
You can download blank gift certificates from online or your word processing software … or, you can make one from a sheet of paper and decorate it as you wish. You don’t want to appear to have forgotten to purchase a gift, making your offer seem like a half-assed attempt to coverup this omission.
If you have any restrictions on what you are offering, list them on the gift certificate. If you’re offering to clean the cars of a half dozen people, you don’t want all of them to try and schedule you for the same day or to expect you’ll do this task with a couple hours’ notice. Even if you’re retired and your schedule is flexible, there will be days when you’ve made other plans. You may want to ask for two days’ notice, or even a request a week in advance.
And, as with any gift, always make certain that your offer suits the individual.
Have you given a gift of your time to someone? What skill or service did you offer? Do you have any tips for transforming a gift of time into a memorable event? Please share in the comments section below.
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The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).