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Gift-giving Post Pandemic

My childhood best friend and I were having dinner outside at a restaurant during a beautiful fall evening. She asked me if I'd heard about the latest fallout from the continuation of the pandemic: We should begin our holiday shopping for gifts and food early because due to the global supply chain crisis there will be delays and shortages!! She was frustrated that once again, Christmas and the holidays have been reduced to the gifts and the food, as if the holidays wouldn't come without it. If I learned anything from the pandemic last year, it was that I missed my family more than anything, not the gifts or the food. As a matter of fact, so many people were cleaning out the CRAP (Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure) in their homes during the pandemic that Goodwills had to shut down donations so they could catch up from the flood of stuff they were receiving.

The other take-away from the pandemic was how devastating it was for small businesses and restaurants; especially those with a storefront and no web presence. Big businesses like Amazon made out just fine (and then some), and when news reports suggest another “pandemic panic”, especially with regard to buying for the holidays, I’m afraid the American public acts like Pavlov’s dogs and thinks “Amazon Prime”. Well, since I don’t feel obligated to contribute to another space flight; here are a few of my suggestions for gift-giving post pandemic.

  • Shop Local. My first go-to for gift giving is shopping at local businesses and entrepreneurs. Berks County Living magazine has a lot of great suggestions in their November 2021 edition including experiences, food and gifts.
  • Clutter-free Gift-giving. Many people are trying to cut back on giving and receiving stuff. This handout is full of clutter-free ideas for gift-giving.
  • Family antiques and heirlooms. Even though many children of elderly parents do not want their parent’s “stuff”, there may be a family antique or heirloom that you deem worthy of giving as a gift. Attach the story or history of that item if you do decide to gift it.    
  • Your own “gift closet/drawer”. Many of my clients have a habit of buying gifts ahead of time and keep them in a certain location. If you do that too, look in that area first before buying anything new. If you don’t use those gifts in one or two years, consider donating them to charities and only buy gifts when you need them.
  • Money for college. I used to work in financial aid at a local college and what I learned is that the best gift for grandchildren is contributing to a 529 Plan.  
  • Ask them. I know people love giving surprises, but not everyone loves receiving them. Find out exactly what they want and if they say they don't want anything, respect that. 

Finally, if you shop on-line, may I suggest first searching on ebay.com or etsy.com. There are many small entrepreneurs who would appreciate your business. My own ebay store, which you can find by clicking here, includes items from my clients who are making a concerted effort to unclutter. Thanks!

 Pro tip: Don't let advertisers and retailers decide
what you want to buy,
when to buy it,
and how much to spend.