Carrie Schwab Pomerantz
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ATTENTION CARRIE SCHWAB-POMERANTZ EDITORS: DUE TO THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, CARRIE SCHWAB-POMERANTZ'S COLUMN 'ASK CARRIE' FOR RELEASE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2013, WILL BE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION. -CREATORS SYNDICATE

ASK CARRIE

BY CARRIE SCHWAB-POMERANTZ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Some Last-Minute Thoughts on Giving Lasting Gifts

(SET ITAL) Dear Readers: As the busiest shopping season of the year comes to a close -- and you may be struggling to come up with that last-minute gift that doesn't push your budget over the edge -- I want to share some ideas on giving in general. Because while traditional gifts can be fun to buy and a pleasure to give, there are other thoughtful ways to give that can be even more lasting. (END ITAL)

A colleague of mine recently told me a family story. Her niece decided that this year, rather than buy individual gifts for her parents and brothers and sisters, she was going to create an experience they could all share. She and her husband came up with a plan to rent a vacation home for a week and help everyone join them there. Being a planner, she did the research, found the perfect vacation rental and then used a combination of mileage points and money to make sure everyone could participate. When she presented her plan, her family was thrilled -- and all came together to fill in any financial gaps so the trip wouldn't be a tremendous strain on anyone. This week together became a family holiday gift that will be remembered forever.

Now granted, not everyone can afford this type of group gift, but this doesn't mean the spirit of it can't be realized in a variety of ways. Because what we're talking about here is showing people that you care in a meaningful way that goes beyond the shopping malls.

GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME

In our busy world, we often have trouble fitting in quality time with friends and family. You can't wrap it up with a bow, but showing someone you care enough to carve out time to spend just with them can be a gift to cherish. It can be as simple as dinner and a movie with a friend, or an afternoon at a skating rink with the grandkids. What about a trip to a museum? A picnic at the beach? Offering to babysit or walk the dog? These may seem like ordinary, everyday things, but if something is specially planned -- and put on the calendar -- it takes on more meaning. You might even begin a new tradition!

GIVE THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE

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Carrie Schwab Pomerantz

Carrie Schwab Pomerantz is a Motley Fool contributor.

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