Today I want to discuss another idea of how to give without there being an OUCH! factor. Today's idea is PURGE!
If you are like me, you probably have cleaned the house to supply material for the Churches White Elephant Sale, the Book Drive, and your own yard sale. Believe it or not, there probably is EVEN MORE that you can purge. You will be absolutely surprised at how many things work their way into your house without even realizing it!
The Criteria here is the things have to be new, and LOOK new. Impossible you say? Not so, I say.
First, look among the families toiletries. Often times we are given butters, creams, colognes, oils, shampoos, powders, soaps and bath bombs that we haven't used in the sixth months since we've been given the gift and probably won't ever use. They aren't part of our routine. These items would be great to give to a church or community group that assembles gift baskets for the less fortunate at Christmas.
How about looking on book shelves? You'll probably find books that were given to you or your children that you either once had an interest in and don't now, or never had an interest in and never will. As long as the cover isn't scuffed, the pages aren't bent or dirty, it would make a great thing to give for an organization to use as a gift or in it's Holiday Gift Shop for clients. You can do the same thing with DVD's. I was surprised at how many dvds we had that had never been opened.
Now look in your closets. I have found a still packaged, holiday table cloth in the size of a table that I no longer own, some stocking stuffers that I couldn't find after I bought them that are now no longer age appropriate for my family, floating candles and some still in the plastic card games. They might not be the "it" gift of the season, but they would still make nice gifts.
Lastly, look in your pantry. Remember the soup that sounded so delicious, but you couldn't finish the first bowl? It might not be your taste, but it might be someone elses. For example, I love Manhattan Clam Chowder, but I detest the New England Clam Chowder that my husband bought home. It was too much trouble to bring the one can back to the store. That can of soup got donated. The can of fried onions that I was going to use in a string bean casserole that my husband informed me he detested and I decided not to make. Donated. A can of salmon? Nice gift from a offspring I won't mention, but not trying it. Ditto the smoked sardines. The point here is that these foods are not my taste, but they might be someone elses taste. As long as the items are not near or past their due dates.
My dear cousin Bernadette, God rest her soul, did this, but in a different way. She would make up a grocery bag or two for the Holiday Community Kitchen. Bern would put in the essential things like peanut butter, but she'd also put in fun things like chocolate syrup and hot cocoa mix and a big bag of marshmallows. In this vein, another fun thing to put in would be all the ingredients to make a home made pumpkin pie. Things don't always have to be utilitarian or practical, in other words.
OUCH! factor for these ideas? Mostly zilch!