Gifts of Time Ideas


If y’all could help me I’d be most appreciative. As a college student who’s living off his parents and with bleak job oppertunities (Really bad class hours combined with an upcoming surgery) I find myself a little short on funds this year for presents. I thought I’d do something different, and a little more meaningful I’d hope, and give my family gifts of time, I’d do things for them, instead.

For my parents I’m promising to keep the kitchen clean, help more with the laundry, keep my dad’s computer desk clean, and cook dinner every night. (May not sound like a lot, but, unfortunately, I’m known for being lazy, and this actually will require concious effort. My parents will recognize this. I’m hoping these gifts will help me overcome laziness as well, my present to myself I guess).

For my youngest sister, and this was incredibly difficult, I’m promising to be polite and respect her choice of boyfriend, something that nobody in the family is very wont to do. She’ll really appreciate this too, I think.

My two older sisters, and their fiances, however, have me thrown for a loop. I can’t think of anything I can do for them. Can y’all help maybe?

Pair 1: She’s starting a wedding consulting business soon, is in school for it now, he’s a 911 operator for the police. They prefer staying in rather than going out, she has a cat, his family is into horses. He has vision problems (is going blind, might be within the next 10 years) so darkness is a problem for him.

Pair 2: She’s planning on going back to school next semester, he’s in the postal service for a town about an hour away, he commutes. They’re the ‘outdoors’ couple, snowboarding, water skiing, and go out to eat often. They’re really into movies and videogames.

… Any ideas? I’m trying to think of something that will take effort on my part but will help them or be something they’ll really enjoy. Long post, but any help is appreciated! Thank you!


Hi Rawb,

I think that your desire to give something to your family even though you don’t have the monetary resources is admirable…

However…if you DO have money, just not enough for a gift comparable to their gifts to you, I would consider buying or making a little something…possibly employing some of your own talents.

One possibility is to buy some groceries and make something for the family on Christmas day–cookies or brownies, for instance. Or if you can’t cook to save your life, buy a couple bags of Christmas candy and repackage the mixes. It’ll cost you less than $10 and your time spent making them, packaging them nicely, and labeling them individually will make them extra special. You might then write your time gifts on the labels–or maybe individual letters would be nice.

I like the premise of giving out “time” gifts–but some of your suggestions strike me more as New Year resolutions than actual gifts. I mean, shouldn’t you already being doing a lot of those things? Helping as much as you can with family stuff, being polite, etc.

The extra stuff, on the other hand, flies. Like cooking dinner every night–provided it is feasible that you can stick to it. If you’re having a surgery, that seems unlikely, so maybe something less ambitious would work better.

Good luck with the Christmas planning and I truly admire your desire to make your family feel special! :thumbsup:



Maybe you could offer to make a special candlelight dinner for each couple and be the waiter/cook.

Other than that, I think what kevinsgirl suggested about maybe making them something, using your talents. I am knitting a scarf for my husband this year (he needs one) and for my dad’s gift when I got married, I painted a picture for him. I also painted glass bulb ornaments with Christmas themes for friends and made plates of cookies and other goodies. My siblings and I always made gingerbread men for our teachers and my mom made gingerbread nativity scenes. My husband one year made a replica of his parents’ house with the plastic canvas and Looney Tunes characters for his siblings. Just some ideas to start…even writing a letter about how much they mean to you, or framing a picture…I’ve done collages of friends and such. :slight_smile:


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