Think Outside The Gift Box

In Callie Hearnsberger Carter, Lola Shreveport by Lola Magazine

Non-Traditional Christmas Gifts for Your Loved Ones

With that comes the annual wracking of our brains for unique and thoughtful gifts for our loved ones. After all the overthinking, we often find ourselves stuck gift-less with little time in stores. These days, it’s safe to say everyone has enough candles and throw blankets. It is true, the joy of Christmas isn’t from gifts, it is from the memories made with friends and family, and yet we still long to find the perfect gift. Instead of wrapping up the typical “Top Ten Christmas Gifts of The Season,” take some time to think outside the box this year.

The Gift of New Experiences

If someone you love has a bucket list, help them scratch something off it. We have all kinds of cool experiences in our area and the surrounding areas as well. You can book a skydiving session or fly-fishing lessons for the adventurer. If you want to keep it simple, movie and concert tickets make for great gifts. If there is something they have always wanted to learn, sewing classes or a self-defense course gives experience and lifelong skills. Cooking lessons are a wonderful experience to share together. If cooking is not their thing, you can hire a personal chef to come cook a special meal! Escape rooms and ax throwing are a blast for a night out. Keep the candles on the shelf and give them an experience they will never forget this year.


  • Skydiving Lessons
  • Fly-Fishing Lessons
  • Sewing Classes
  • Self-Defense Classes
  • Movie Tickets
  • Concert Tickets
  • Cooking Lessons
  • Personal Chef
  • Escape Rooms
  • Ax Throwing
  • Music Lessons

The Gift of FOOD

Don’t ever underestimate the power of food when it comes to gift-giving. Whether you want to share your city’s best bites with a faraway loved one, do something nice for a coworker or friend, or plan a celebratory evening, a beautifully wrapped treat will win the day. Premade local eats are always a hit. Homemade gumbo and baked goods are always a winner. With all the cooking that goes on during the holidays, pick up a catered meal for the days leading up to Christmas, or when the leftovers have run dry. One of our favorite holiday goodies are premade cookie decoration kits from one of our local bakeries. You can really steal the show with a premade charcuterie board that everyone can enjoy. A bottle of wine is always a good choice, but if you want to mix it up, cocktail mixers with the required liquor will be sure to keep spirits bright. Everyone loves to eat so you can’t go wrong with feeding their hearts through the gift of food.

Prepared Eats

  • Gumbo
  • Chicken Salad
  • Charcuterie Boards


  • Homemade Pastries
  • Fresh Bread
  • Cookie Decorating Kits


  • Wine
  • Catered Meals
  • Cocktail Mixers

The Gift of Sentimental Sentiment

If you strive to pull at their holiday heartstrings, then you should give a gift with sentimental values. It may be hard to let these items go, but if you know it will mean more to someone you love, then it will be worth parting with. A favorite book, an old record or CD, an original piece of artwork, or a family heirloom all come with heartfelt meaning and memories that will likely bring happy tears on Christmas morning. If you cannot let go of your own, but you know it would make the perfect gift, find an exact or similar replica. For instance, your sister has been in love with your pendant for years and you can find her one just like it or your best friend loves an original piece of art, gift them a different piece by the same artist. They will love the gift and be touched that you took notice. Most of us have an item that we lost or broke in the past that we never got over, like a particular watch lost in travel, a piece of family China that was broken, or the missing pieces of a set of silver. The gift of replacing special items gives a sense of relief and priceless joy.

  • Your Own Special Item
  • Favorite Book
  • Old Records or CD
  • Original Artwork
  • Family Heirlooms
  • Replicas of Special Items
  • Jewelry
  • Art
  • Replacing Lost or Broken Special Items
  • Jewelry or Watches
  • Pieces of broken China
  • A missing piece of a silver set

The Gift of TRAVEL

Rather than saving up for new toys, gadgets or material things to give your family this Christmas, why not save for a trip instead? Everyone loves to get the gift of Disney World, but there are plenty of other options when it comes to giving the gift of travel. If your crew loves to ski, is full of history buffs, or the beach is their happy place, call a local travel agent and they will help you make the trip of a lifetime a reality.  It may cost a tad bit more, but if you plan, you can save on plane tickets and accommodation costs. Also, it eliminates the need to stress about what each member of the family would like to get! If you are on a tight budget, you can consider booking them a weekend stay in a nice spa, cabin retreat or a weekend winery tour not far from home. There will be no time for after the holiday blues, when you give the gift of travel, it will give everyone something to look forward to.

  • Cruises
  • Caribbean
  • Alaskan
  • Disney
  • European

Weekend Getaways

  • Broken Bow, Ok.
  • The Arlington Resort, Hot Springs


  • Disney World 
  • Kiepersol Winery and Vineyard, Bullard, Tx.
  • Sight-Seeing Tours in New Orleans

Trips of a Lifetime

  • New England Tours
  • European Tours
  • All-inclusive beach resorts
  • Ski Vacation

The Gift of Time

Who hasn’t said, “I wish there were more hours in the day?” There’s nothing better than the gift of time, especially with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The gift of time is completely free, but one of the most valuable gifts of all. Give the gift of babysitting for a friend who never has enough time to do something for herself. We all have a special knack for something. Give the gift of sharing it with friends and family. Whether it is organizing closets, meal planning, teaching someone how to play an instrument, making a family favorite recipe or painting a canvas –  giving your time to share your talents is nothing short of priceless. If a loved one is involved in a non-profit, offer your time to volunteer to their cause. Date nights are a wonderful gift of time. If you and your significant other never find quality time together, or you feel like you have not had enough time to visit with your parents or grandparents, then you can make the commitment to gift them your time. It will make for special memories for both yourself and the ones you love.

  • Free Babysitting
  • Date Nights
  • Homemade Gifts

Your Talents

  • Organizing
  • Meal Planning
  • Playing Musical Instruments
  • Painting
  • Sewing
  • Making a Favorite Family Recipe
  • Volunteering for a Non-Profit
  • Sitting with the elderly
  • Serving Meals
  • Helping gather donations

The Gift of Something Homemade

Some of us have a long list of friends and family we have to shop for this holiday season. If the thought of buying small, useless gifts feels uninspiring, then you can give the gift of something homemade. You can cut down on the expenses and the hassle by giving them something special and made with love. Homemade bread, candies, pies and cakes are always enjoyed. If you don’t have the time to do the baking put together the ingredients and a printed recipe of a holiday favorite. Dry marinades, dips, Chex mix and candied nuts are also great options if you are short on time. Another thoughtful option is a collection of handwritten recipes that can be scanned in and reprinted on cardstock. Scented homemade bath salts give a sweet luxury for all during the hectic holidays. Handmade Christmas ornaments are precious and thoughtful gifts that will be cherished year after year. A new trend in homemade gift-giving is mason jar drink mixes. These make delicious cocktails that look festive and are full of holiday flavors by simply pouring the drink of choice in the mix and letting it sit overnight. Print out your own gift labels and seal these homemade gifts with a pretty bow for a Christmas gifting win.

Homemade Baked Goods

  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Christmas Candy

Ready to Make Treats with Recipes

  • Marinades
  • Dip Mix
  • Candied Nuts
  • Chex Mix


  • Scented Bath Salts
  • Mason Jar Drink Mixes
  • Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Gifts for the…kids

Your kids reach a certain age when they don’t need that many toys or are beyond the concept of materialist gifts. Smaller kids can’t seem to get enough action figures or baby dolls, yet toys and gadgets quickly lose their luster. Especially when the particular toy comes with two hundred tiny parts and pieces. Older kids ask for the expensive shoes that they will soon outgrow or the newest video game that will more than likely consume them with hours on end of mindless screentime. Give them something not on their list that they don’t even know they want.  Subscription boxes are one of the best gifts for not only kids but anyone on your list. From monthly slime-making kits and candy boxes from around the world to beauty boxes and Christian-based boxes full of inspirational items, subscription boxes give them something to look forward to every month of the year. Every kid has an interest that they are passionate about. Give them lessons for their favorite sport, instrument, or a skill they want to learn like sewing or art. Another fun option is memberships to their favorite places like the zoo, trampoline park, rock climbing center, or kids’ museums. Memberships not only make them happy, but they also give you the opportunity to spend more time being together and less time telling them to turn off the video game.

  • Subscription Boxes
  • Kids Cooking Boxes
  • Beauty or Bath Boxes
  • Inspirational Boxes
  • Outdoor Boxes
  • Craft Boxes
  • Food Boxes


  • Music
  • Sports
  • Sewing
  • Art


  • Trampoline Park
  • Rock Climbing Center
  • Museums
  • Zoos