Social Encore: Holiday gift ideas

Dec. 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Did you know there are exactly 13 days left until Christmas? Do you care?

Don’t be so quick to call me a Grinch, but Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday of the year. Don’t get me wrong — I like the holidays and all, but the hardest task is finding Christmas gifts. I don’t like spending a lot of money, but at the same time I want to buy a gift that will suit the person that I’m giving it to.

For some recipients, gift cards are probably the easiest to get. However, there are people who love to receive a gift that shows you’ve put a lot of thought into it.

Here are some great gift suggestions worth considering this holiday season:

Help Simplify Their Life

Coin is an electronic card that allows users to consolidate eight gift, credit and debit cards into one. (Courtesy photo)

Coin is an electronic card that allows users to consolidate eight gift, credit and debit cards into one. (Courtesy photo)

I’m not a fan of clutter. So when I heard about Coin, I thought about the men in my life. Most of them don’t like bulky wallets.

This device allows you to combine up to eight gift, debit and credit cards on one device. It is a sleek and modern gift and if you pre-order this week, the price is $50 instead of $100. The only thing is, your recipient won’t be able to play with this present right away, as Coin won’t ship until next summer.

If that’s a deal-breaker, maybe pick something that will help organize their car, desk or purse.

For me, it’s a tradition to start the new year organized and clean. I believe its a feng shui aura that helps you get into an optimistic mindset for the new year.

Do It Themselves

If you have someone in your life who likes to create things, Darby Smart sells an assortment of kits for special DIY (do it yourself) projects. From creating things like malachite coasters to etched champagne flutes, each kit has everything your recipient will need.

Prices vary depending on the kit, but this gift will give your special someone a unique experience, allowing them to add their own person flair to the project.

If it’s not a DIY project, get them something that will help live a sustainable lifestyle. Here in Hawaii, we are all about supporting local farmers and with the wonderful weather that we have here, it’s possible to do so in our backyard. Some people may not have the luxury of having a yard that they can grow food in, however, so I found a small aquaponics system called Aqua Farms. A gift like this allows people who live in smaller housing arrangements like apartments to still grow fresh herbs.

Darby Smart is an excellent source for holiday gifts. (Courtesy Photo)

Darby Smart is an excellent source for holiday gifts. (Courtesy Photo)

Satisfy Their Tummy

The holiday season is infamous for sweets and other unhealthy snacks. I love to think I’m the Filipino Betty Crocker and love it when people gift sweets during the holidays because it shows they put effort into making your gift.

There are two ways you could give homemade goodies as gifts. First, find a baking recipe that you love and share the wealth. Make the item yourself and decorate in holiday packaging or boxes, then include a printout of the recipe. This way, you can give goodies that are ready to eat and the recipient will have the recipe to make it themselves.

The other way is something many of us bakers like to call “cookie mix in a jar.” You can package baked sweets by creating jars with the ingredients. For example, you can put chocolate chips, flour, sugar, nuts, etc. all in a jar. As you add each ingredient, you’ll be able see the layers of goodness. The great thing about the jar idea is that your recipient can make the cookies when they are ready.

Share An Experience

Another idea that you may want to think of is giving the gift of an experience. That way, the recipient can try something new (possibly with you) and memorable. Maybe register your gift recipient for the Great Aloha Run, or sign them up for beauty classes, or maybe tour the island together doing yoga! This type of gift can ensure you and that special someone spend some quality time together.

For me, quality time means a lot and when I get to share an experience, it creates a moment amongst the people that I share it with. That itself is a gift.

Something Practical

If there is one thing that I like getting, it’s a practical gift. Get someone a gift you know they will use. These types of gifts are usually small and inexpensive. One idea is a set of post-it notes for use at the office. If they drink a lot of coffee, how about a reusable cup from their favorite coffee shop?

There are also practical gifts you probably didn’t even know existed, like a personal tea maker that strains your tea and water in one cup. If you have a baker in your life, this cake pan allows for tasting a cake without ruining it.

Maybe you have a sneaker fanatic in your life? Get them something that will help with laces or something to help with the maintenance of their shoes.

Not Made In Hawaii

Even though I love supporting local, there are some things you just can’t get here. For example, certain brands of food or clothes. Your best resource for these gifts is the Internet. Maybe you have a friend who loves Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. Trader Joe’s does not have an online store, but there are other sources that will ship to Hawaii.

A store I love buying gifts from is Urban Outfitters. They have a great return policy and charge no tax for items shipped to Hawaii. Not only will you find clothing brands we can’t get locally, but you’ll also be able to find funny stocking stuffers like a bun ring, a megaphone keychain, cute bandages with keep calm quotes, or even a beer bottle ring. How great is that!

A Gift That Keeps Giving

When it comes to the children on my list, I love giving something they will use. When I can’t figure out who their favorite Disney character is, I often rely on gifts that will teach them something, like an educational card game or puzzles for them to solve.

Giving gifts that will teach someone something isn’t just a concept that I use when giving gifts for kids, but I use them for adult recipients too.

For some of my technological friends, I’ve bought apps, music or e-books for them through my iPhone and Apple’s iTunes Store. What’s great about is that I can send the gift virtually via email and even schedule delivery on a specific day.

And while I like having one electronic device that can serve many purposes, nothing beats holding a book in your hand. During this time of year, many friends I know re-evaluate their lives, and I like giving them books that will help with their journeys. I’ve given friends books like “Tuesdays With Morrie” “The Alchemist” and “What I know Now.

Whatever you decide to give this year, it’s the thought that really counts. I hope these suggestions help you knock off a few names on your gift list this year.
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Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

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