"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge
the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." ~Proverbs 24:3-4

Not Just For Kids


Every year you say you're going to start your holiday shopping early so that you're not running around at the last minute. But it’s already the week before Christmas, you've barely begun, and you can’t even think of what to get. Worry not! Here are plenty of gift ideas for everyone on your list. (And just so you remember, your gift list may include: mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grandparents, favorite relatives, husband/wife, children, father-in-law, mother-in-law, nieces/nephews, friends, neighbors, teachers, boss, co-workers, clergy, dentist, doctor, hair stylist, babysitter, domestic help, delivery person, pets, and don't forget someone less fortunate.)

No-Cost Gifts from the Heart

A used book that you read and enjoyed; paper snowflakes or origami ornaments; give a friend an item of yours that they’ve admired; an assortment of photos that you have of the person; a piece of jewelry, collectible, or heirloom that you would like to pass on to someone else in your family; a copy of the family tree - printed beautifully, rolled up, and tied with a ribbon; a poem that you wrote; make your own picture book for a child featuring their favorite things; paint a picture; draw a loved one’s portrait; memorize and recite a Bible verse or poem; sing a song; perform a short skit; present someone with a coupon for a special service (such as a weekend of yard work); a book of coupons (for housework, babysitting, washing the car, etc.); a trip to the library to get a child’s first library card and check out some books or videos; fix and clean up an old toy and give it to a younger sibling; spend some quality time together at the park, playing a board game, etc.

Fun Gift Exchanges

White elephants (something used but useful, or bizarre and useless); a favorite book (write in the front what it has meant to you); ornaments (under $10 each); picture frames (under $10 each); mugs (along with hot cocoa, coffee or tea); gourmet food samples; a half dozen of your favorite Christmas cookies (plus the recipe on a 3x5 card for each person); opposites (such as bubble bath for guys and tools for ladies); hand-made items.

Hostess Gifts

Fragrant potpourri; pretty soaps; fancy stationery; decorative candles; unique tree ornaments; tin of cookies; potted plants. (Keep a few extra gifts like these handy for when you are invited to someone else's home, or in case someone drops by with an unexpected gift for you.)

Stocking Stuffers

Card game; pen and pencil set; jewelry; pocket journal; wallet; paperback book; keychain; mini flashlight; calculator; Hot Wheels or Matchbox car; mini Lego set; candy bar; small bag of Pepperidge Farm distinctive cookies.

For the Person Who Has Everything

A gift certificate, magazine subscription, or book that relates to their interest; an object to go with a collection of theirs; movie tickets; a restaurant gift certificate; a coupon for a service (such as a weekend of yard work or washing their car); a humorous joke present; a handmade gift; make a donation in their name to a charity or organization you know they’d like to support.

Sentimental Gifts For Loved Ones

Handmade ornaments; a favorite family recipe; artwork made by children; cuttings from your favorite greenhouse plants in a small vase wrapped in a holiday bow; a personalized gift basket; a framed photo or poem; a special book; a CD of classic tunes; a homemade gift certificate or coupon book (redeemable for a back rub, breakfast in bed, a hug, etc.); a seasonal trip, weekend getaway or afternoon outing; anything that's original, creative, and from the heart.


Board game; chess set; ice cream maker; popcorn popper; bird feeder and seeds; globe; planning calendar; tape recorder/player; gift certificates for video rentals; picnic basket and bright plastic dishes; song books, tapes, or sheet music for sing-alongs; set of musical instruments (kazoo, tambourine, drum, triangle, harmonica, recorder, etc.); restaurant gift certificates; movie tickets; a year's membership in a local museum; a mini-library (collect one book per person, all on a similar topic-such as a children's picture book of deserts, a field guide to desert wildlife, a science book about deserts, and a southwestern travel guide; or an assortment of cartoon books such as Calvin and Hobbes, Baby Blues, Family Circus, and Peanuts; or try combining a book of nursery rhymes with a book of humorous verses for children and an anthology of classic poems for all ages).


Shirt; necktie; belt; handkerchiefs; wristwatch; leather wallet; shaving kit; barbeque utensils; camping or sports equipment; a new briefcase; book; video; CD of his favorite music; computer software; framed photo of the kids to put in his office; electric weed trimmer; tool set/tool box; gas grill; hammock; electric putting cup; his favorite cologne; leather gloves; an audiotape for the car; hobby-related item; candlelit steak dinner for two; book of coupons (for a car wash, mowing the lawn, taking out trash, etc.), gift certificate, movie/concert/sport tickets.


Perfume; bath oil/powder; set of fancy soaps; small appliance; quality cookware or serving utensils; dinner for two at a nice restaurant; trip to a mountainside bed-and-breakfast; gift certificate for maid service; book of coupons (for housework, dinner out, babysitting, etc.); an additional piece for a set of china or silverware; jewelry; herbal tea; gourmet food basket; aromatherapy; stationery; scrapbook/photo album; framed family photo; music box; collectible figurine; inspirational book; CD of her favorite music; gift certificate from her favorite store; movie/play/concert tickets.


Movie/concert tickets; gift certificate for CD's/videos/DVD's; gift certificate for clothes at his/her favorite store; cordless phone; phone card; bike; camera; radio; portable CD player; computer game; hobby-related item; gift pack of snacks; jewelry; backpack; gym bag; money.


Children's handprints pressed in plaster; framed children's artwork; framed family photograph; large print book; video of grandchildren at play or a recording of their voices.

Hospital Patients/Nursing Home Residents

Framed photos of loved ones; a collage of memory pictures; homemade jams/jellies or baked goods; fresh fruit; a potted plant; an afghan; slippers; a sachet of potpourri; a bed lounge pillow; a set of stationery with envelopes and stamps; a box of all-occasion cards; a paperback book; a selection of magazines; a personal care package (hand cream, nail polish, nail file and clippers for women; a razor, shaving gel and after-shave for men).

Cats - A scratching post; balls; toy mouse; gourmet cat treat; tidbits of turkey, chicken, and ham.

Dogs - A fuzzy ball; rawhide chew stick; lightweight winter sweater; a comfy pillow; leftovers.


(Find the child's personality type and choose something suitable for their age from the list of suggestions, or just let them circle some items that they would like.)

Actor/Performer - puppets/puppet theatre; dollhouse; action figures; playset with buildings, people and vehicles; a box of hats and costumes; musical instrument/rhythm instrument set; magic tricks; juggling set; Karaoke tape player; music; videos; tickets to a concert, movie or play.

Architect/Engineer - wooden blocks; sandbox and molds; 3-D puzzles; toy workbench; carpentry set; Lincoln Logs; Legos; K'nex; Erector sets; electric train set; drafting supplies; construction vehicles; Sim City/Sim Tower software; model building kit; playset with buildings.

Artist - crayons; coloring books; paints; modeling clay; easel; art supplies; craft kit; stickers; rubber stamp set; how-to-draw books; computer drawing program; pottery wheel; jewelry kit.

Athlete - ride-on toy; jungle gym; balls; bike; basketball hoop; sled; ball and bat; jump rope; skateboard; skates; scooter; tennis racquet; volleyball set; hockey game; golf set; race track set.

Explorer - camping equipment; sleeping bag; backpack; binoculars; telescope; spy kit; flashlight and batteries; lantern; compass; fishing gear; archery set; field guides; bandanas; mountain bike; FRS radios; pocket knife; maps; whistle; first aid/survival kit; water bottle; trail snacks.

Nurturer - dolls; stuffed animals; doctor kit; toy kitchen set; kid's cookbook; mini baking set; tea set; dollhouse; toy farm set; play store; sewing/needlepoint kit; garden tools; storybooks.

Scientist - doctor/detective/spy kit; jigsaw puzzle; magnets; microscope; telescope; binoculars; experiment book; chemistry set; electronic circuitry kit; rock tumbler; model kit; computer game.

It Isn’t a Turtle Dove, But…It May Be the Perfect Christmas Gift

Are you trying to find a unique gift, or something for the person who has everything? Perhaps you have an outdoor enthusiast on your Christmas shopping list. The Arizona Game and Fish Department may have the perfect gift idea! Game and Fish offers a unique opportunity for individuals and organizations to support conservation and research efforts for the desert tortoise. You can sponsor a tortoise by making a tax-deductible donation to the Desert Tortoise Project.

The Sponsor-a-Tortoise program works this way – all sponsors receive a color photograph of their tortoise, and a tortoise program pin. Sponsors at the “Hatchling” level or higher also receive a project summary at the end of the year. Contributors at the “Juvenile” level or higher will receive an even more specific account of their sponsored tortoise for that year. The following levels of contribution provide support for the varying types of supplies:

  • Egg (purchases miscellaneous field supplies) $25
  • Hatchling (purchases X-ray film and supplies) $50
  • Juvenile (refurbishes a radio-transmitter) $100
  • Adult (purchases a new radio transmitter) $200

    For more info or a sponsorship form, contact Daren Riedle, 602-789-3767, driedle@gf.state.az.us or Darren Bolen, 602-789-3504, dbolen@gf.state.az.us at the Game and Fish Department.

    Last-Minute Gift-Buying Tips

    1. Shop online to save time and minimize stress, and have the gifts sent directly to the recipients.

    2. Have your gifts wrapped at the store, or look for one of the charity organizations that sponsors gift-wrapping fundraisers at malls.

    3. Even though you’re desperate and in a hurry, stick to your budget to avoid starting out the new year in debt. Take into consideration all travel, entertaining, parties, gifts, donations, gift wrapping and shipping costs. Remember, even the little things add up.

    4. While Americans are used to giving gifts at Christmas time, gift giving at the New Year is still practiced in many parts of Europe, including France, Switzerland, Greece, and Russia. Gain some extra time and take advantage of after-Christmas sales by starting a tradition of giving New Year’s gifts instead of Christmas gifts!


    These pages are a continuous work in progress.
    Copyright © 2000- by Teri Ann Berg Olsen
    All rights reserved.

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