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Holiday Presents: Think Outside the Gift-Wrapped Box

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The holidays are upon us again and thus the panic of purchasing the perfect gifts for our loved ones has nestled its way into our being. Fear not I’ve got a few suggestions to take the weight off of both your minds and your wallets.

Buying gifts can be daunting and kind of scary. You don’t want to be the friend who gives the same sweater they’ve already received or purchase a gift certificate to a store they never shop in. Think about the person, what they really enjoy and where they get the warm-fuzzies from.

Here are few options to help you think try something new this year:

Memberships

Memberships are an awesome way to give a little gift that keeps giving. I’ve actually chosen this year to gift a membership to the US Men’s National Soccer Team Supporters’ group aka the American Outlaws. With the World Cup looming next year and America making a great run going into it, this is the only time the majority of my friends watch soccer. And what better way to cheer on America than in your ‘Team USA’ t-shirt and bandana? It will also connect you with your local chapter so you know where to watch matches and even gives you discounts if you choose to travel to watch live games. At just $25 for the full 2014 year it’s well worth the money and essential for all soccer fans next year.

http://store.theamericanoutlaws.com/product/ao-gift-1-year-membership-2014

There is also the option of museum memberships for the more cultured friends in your life. The memberships in NYC tend to be higher than most cities. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the least expensive of the big three at $70 a year and even the Brooklyn Museum is $60 annually. Also, ask if there is a student membership option usually brings the cost down substantially. Be sure to check to if they are tax-deductible as many museum memberships are.

Donations

You know those friends or family members, who always plead with you not to buy a gift because they have so much, why not make a donation to an organization in their name. Think about things that are dear to them and find a charity or non-profit that aligns with that. If your aunt loves cats, donate to a local shelter. There are always the bigger names like the ASPCA. They have a page specifically for holiday donations and you can choose any amount. They also double as holiday card in case you didn’t send one this year.

http://goo.gl/yWD4zf

An excellent donation for the geeks/writers/artists in your life would be to donate to one of my favorite non-profits the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. They protect First Amendment rights of the comic art form and its community. They do an amazing job of protecting free speech, and are hugely active ever year. You can donate any amount you are comfortable with, seriously there’s a dollar option!

An excellent donation for the geeks/writers/artists in your life would be to donate to one of my favorite non-profits the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. They protect First Amendment rights of the comic art form and its community. They do an amazing job of protecting free speech, and are hugely active ever year. You can donate any amount you are comfortable with, seriously there’s a dollar option!

http://cbldf.myshopify.com/products/the-comic-book-legal-defense-fund

Again with tax season approaching, remember these are tax-deductible items.

Tangibles

If you find yourself in a bind and absolutely need to purchase the perfect physical gift take to local shops first and try to avoid bigger chains. It does your community a world of good in the long run. But if the internet is more your speed I must recommend Etsy. They have the most unique, affordable, and more often than not handmade items. Tons of creators on here even have personalized items for that extra special touch. I prefer Etsy because money goes directly to the creators rather than some other sites that take their time turning over funds. Most Etsy shops are still running holiday sales and even offer gift wrapping. Just be mindful of shipping dates as the 25th approaches. Here are a few shops I just snagged gifts from:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnArtistAbroad … Affordable beautiful hand-made jewelry

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RefrigeratorProse … Fun refrigerator word magnets

https://www.etsy.com/shop/knitatthebar … Amazing knitted beverage coozies

Whatever you chose to do this holiday season remember there’s never really a bad gift if it is given with sincerity and thoughtfulness.

Happy holidays and happy gifting.

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Sheilah Villari - Dollar Bin Darling

Sheilah Villari - Dollar Bin Darling

Southern hospitality mixed with Northern sensibility. This native Charlestonian is one quirky hobby away from becoming a Wes Anderson character. Fluent in Jack Russell and Sportsball. She can be found perusing your local comic/coffee shops. She is the Managing Editor of BAS-NYC.