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Thursday, December 22,2011

Last minute gifts that last a lifetime … or longer

By Jessie Lucier

So many gifts exchanged during the holidays scarcely outlast the wrapping paper and big bows they came packaged in, and their broken and discarded pieces meet their festive wrappings in landfill. This year, consider giving gifts that last — tokens of love and friendship that will be cherished well beyond this holiday season.

For the children on your list, look for classic books rather than a high-tech video game that risks becoming outdated before the child outgrows it.

“Books are great gifts for kids,” says Stephanie Schindhelm, the marketing and promotions manager for the Boulder Bookstore. “Get them a book that they really love and they’ll read it over and over. It gets them thinking and their imaginations going. And the classics are great because they’ll go back to them again and again and see different things.”

Schindhelm and other Boulder Bookstore staff suggest books like Ender’s Game, To Kill a Mockingbird and anything by Roald Dahl. She also suggests books by Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess. Both authors have new collections out this year, Every Thing On it (Silverstein) and The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (Dr. Suess).

A simple piece of jewelry is another sustainable choice, and one that oftentimes becomes embedded with sentimental value. Boulder is home to many local artists who specialize in unique and custom jewelry craftsmanship.

Or, give a living gift. Cut flower bouquets, while quite beautiful and an easy gift to pick up, wilt quickly and are tossed away. Consider, instead, giving someone a plant. Roxy Walker, the assistant manager at Sturtz & Copeland, says that fruit-bearing trees are very popular this time of year.

“They smell fabulous and then they’ll bear fruit,” she says. “Plus, they’re totally doable indoors and they’re not that hard to care for.”

If you’re on budget and have a green thumb (or have a friend with one), many plants, like jade, can be easily propagated and replanted. Well cared for plants can live for decades and, perhaps, even outlast us all.

Finally, it’s said that memories last a lifetime, so consider giving someone a gift that will create one. Take someone horseback riding or climbing. Even better, gift someone with an educational experience. Teach a child to ice skate or give them the gift of guitar lessons. Enroll a budding chef in a cooking class or give the wine lover or beer geek on your list an elaborate tasting experience. We’re fortunate to live in a community that boasts a wealth of talented people who earn their livings by teaching others their craft. So, this year, perhaps a gift without a bow, like an educational experience, is the way to go — and one that isn’t sold out!

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Please folks keep your sanity and don't go out shopping. If you procrastinated like I did there is still hope. I just discovered at www.giftsjustunder.com you find gift cards that you send via email, print from your home printer, or share on Facebook and they NEVER expire. But I would also like to share a trick I use that always helps. Know your budget, put that money on your desk, as you shop put the bills in your drawer and when you are out, you are out! Marry Christmas!