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IOU A Happy Holiday Gift All Year Long
Don't let the holiday end too soon...

chiristmas IOU cardIt seems that as we grow up, the presents get harder to choose. No matter how much we spend, they never have that special feeling. No wonder so many grownups don't enjoy the holidays!

This year take a visit back to when you were first learning to hold scissors. Ditch the credit cards and get out a box of note cards. Give a present that could only come from you.

You don't have to get that glue stick ready. These gifts come in the form of IOUs. I gave my dad an IOU when I was in college. Twenty years later he showed me the card... and thanked me. He had treasured the love in that gift for all those years. Now, that's a special present! Here's how to make yours:

Step 1 - Make a list of the most special people in your life. Think about why they are special to you and what having them in your life means to you. That feeling is what you use to make the gift. Don't worry about the words, if the caring is there... it will come through.

Step 2 - For each person make a list of the things that they complain about and the things that make them happy. Just remember the phone calls on the down days when the kids, the housework, the bad back or a bad day at work seemed to get to them. Everyone has things that take up their time or that that they need a break from every now and then. What are those things? And what are the things they love most, but never seem to have a chance to do?

Step 3 - Now you know what each person you love needs as a present. This is the hard part. Figure out a way that you can do something to make it easier. It has to be something you do yourself - not something you buy or pay someone else to do. Don't make it something that you promise to do every day. You won't... and the present will be spoiled. Make a commitment of one day each month for the year... just twelve days out of the year.

Step 4 - Take out your box of cards and make up your IOUs. On each card write down the things you put on that list. Tell them how special they are and that you wanted this year's gift to be special to show them how much they mean to you. Then tell them what your gift will be. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • basketball playerBe a sports buddy
    If you care about someone who loves to go bowling, biking, plays tennis or another sport, but can't find company... be that company one day a month. Renting bikes for a ride in the park or at the beach can be a great way for both of you to relax together and, no... you're not too old for volleyball. Do make sure to check with your doctor first if your normal lifestyle is "couch potato";

  • See a movie together
    Once a month take a trip to the local movie. You'd be surprised how many people love going, but hate going alone. If there's nothing playing in the theater - rent an all-time favorite movie and watch it together at home;

  • Maid service
    Show me someone who never complains about housework and I'll show you someone with a maid. Whether it's running the vacuum or washing the windows - there has to be one task that is on the "I wish I could get someone else to do this" list - it could be waiting in line at the supermarket or cleaning the oven. The funny thing is that when you're doing it as a gift... it doesn't seem so bad. Do not pick the job you hate most. This is about gift giving not self torture;

  • Baby-sitting
    If anyone in your life is a parent of young kids, a night off is a gift from the gods. A night off once a month may earn you a place in their will - it will certainly earn a big smile;

  • back rubBack rubs
    A good back rub can erase a month's worth of stress. Schedule a time that is good for both of you and bring soothing oil and willing hands. Don't think that this is just a husband-wife gift - moms and dads love having their backs rubbed - most people do;

  • Watch a sports event without asking questions
    Get a book and bone up on what the rules are before the game - you say this is not good for the whole year? That's true - you'll need to learn about more than one sport. Watch out though, if you figure out what's going on, you may actually like it;

  • Go dancing
    If you care about someone who loves to dance but can never get anyone to go... do it! Once a month find a club and go out. Make the rounds of country, salsa and disco... whatever you can find. It's healthy, it's fun and it's a gift that will be enjoyed by both of you.

These are only a few suggestions. You know who you are giving to and what they really would love to have done for them. You get to see them happy and enjoy yourself in the process. What a great gift and it lasts the whole year. Who knows - you might start a trend!


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