Dear Nano: Holiday Woes


Catherine Bowman, Managing Editor

Dear Nano,

I’m beginning to think about what I want to get people for Christmas, but I keep running into a wall. Everyone in my life already has everything they want and need, so I’m not sure what to do. I want to get them something meaningful and not just something that will end up on a shelf collecting dust, but I just don’t know what that would be. Please help!


Gift Impaired


Dear Gift Impaired,

Unfortunately, I have never experienced this issue. My friends and family always just get me new lanterns because I am in constant need, and I usually give them the gift of education. I did some research though, and I think I found the solution to your problem: the gift of charity and experiences! If you give the special people in your life an experience you can all do together or a gift of charity where they can help out other people in need, your gift will be meaningful and special while creating memories for years to come. Here are some ideas for you!


World Wildlife Fund: Adopt a Pet

On the WWF website, you can choose your loved one’s favorite animal or an endangered species and “adopt” it for $55. The WWF sends your loved one an adoption certificate, a plush version of your chosen animal, a card with information about the species, a photo of your animal and a gift bag. All proceeds go to support the protection of wildlife, and this gift will be memorable and special for the animal lover in your life.

Charity Gift Cards

Many sites offer “charity gift cards” where you can buy a gift card for your loved one which allows them to go online and donate the money to the charity of their choosing. This is a good idea for a person who loves giving to charity, but doesn’t have the funds or needs the extra push. Some sites to check out are TisBest and Charity Choice, and they offer lots of charities to choose from.

Experience Gift Certificates

Is your loved one passionate about a particular hobby? Cooking? Painting? Crafts? Then give them the gift of their favorite hobby. Many places offer gift certificates for cooking classes, painting classes, sewing classes, anything that your loved one might be interested in. Giving them the gift of a class is an experience, and, if you get a class for yourself, it could be something you and your loved one enjoy doing together.

Family Activities

Confused about what a parent or sibling would like? Get together with another parent or grandparent if the idea is too pricey, and craft a family experience that everyone will enjoy.You could plan a road trip, book an activity like snorkeling or ziplining, plan a family movie night, or plan a family day out like bowling, a hike, or a picnic. These kinds of gifts will make everyone happy and will enable you and your family to bond and share a special experience.

Coupon Books

Sometimes, a loved one might just need some extra help around the house, or a parent might need a break from their responsibilities. Make a coupon book filled with passes for you to help a loved one when they need it the most. The coupons could be good for cleaning the house, going grocery shopping, babysitting a sibling for a date night, making dinner, or anything else along those lines. This gives the gift of a break to your loved one, something they will surely enjoy.