Want to feel good not only about passing along a gift this year but also about the type of gift given?  Look no further.  Here’s a ‘Good Gift List’ that aims to add another layer of joy to your seasonal generosity.

Comfort food with some chat time

If you are a cooking wizard, why not put it to work for a great cause in cooking a dinner for someone you care about.  Purchase a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine and attach a handwritten card that entitles the receiver to one homemade dinner, courtesy of you – “will be calling you to make the appointment.”  You could host the dinner at your place or pack and deliver.  Ideally, you’ll not only share a meal but also get in some quality relationship time.

Uber ethical basket of care

For the eco-conscious family or friend, put together a basket of care.  Fair Trade Certified chocolate, organic seasonal fruits, a small pot of growing herbs (thyme, basil, or mint), organic or natural ingredient personal care items (lotion, soap, lip balm), a DVD copy of “The Whale” narrated by Ryan Reynolds, and a handmade certificate that you donated in his/her name to a charity.  Look to Charity Navigator to evaluate charities.  Check out Oxfam Unwrapped – the program adds an extra bit of fun and goodness to your charity gift giving.

Two-Day Spa Trip Gift

A gift of peace and relaxation

Give the gift of yoga.  This is a great gift for the exercise lover, the person who needs more peace and relaxation, or someone who need stress reduction. Look for a studio nearby (either near work or home) with a variety of class offerings and times.  Since most studios will sell not only yoga supplies and wear but also gift certificates, purchase a new yoga mat, yoga top and pants, and a month-long pass (number of lessons per month varies).  Why a studio and not yoga DVDs?  A studio gives you the personal care and attention that makes this gift special.  Yoga aims to not only give one improved physical health but also spiritual and mental clarity.

One-on-one with the kids

Kids are used to getting toys as gifts.  But what do they really want after the sparkle of the new toy is gone?  One-on-one time with mom and dad.  Wrap a 2013 puppy picture calendar with days already marked when the child will get a special movie, roller skating, or dinner date with a parent.  But make sure you mark those days in your calendar too; your positive commitment makes the experience even more special.

The day trip for two

While a vacation to Europe might be on the wish list, the budget may not be cooperating.  So, fore-go the packing and waiting and plan a day trip nearby – complete with an e-mail shut down (just like you’re on vacation).  You can take in unseen or favorite local sights where you take some snapshots, lunch at a place to remember, and afternoon at a local spa for massage, a facial, time in the pool or Jacuzzi, and no-rush relaxation.  You might even catch a casual dinner before heading home. Once you’ve got your itinerary planned, type it up and wrap it in a pretty box with a big bow on top.  The extra love and care of planning and attention to detail makes this gift extraordinary.

Photos by Dreamstime: Patricia Ulan and Mayangsari

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