Shrink Approved Holiday Gifts for the Whole Family


Yes, it’s that time of year again! Christmas carols and holiday songs are stuck in our heads, our credit cards are smoking from our holiday purchases, our waist lines are expanding from all that figgy pudding, and our mind is abuzz with concerns about what gifts to give. It’s usually not hard to get all the Xbox games on Little Johnny’s list, but what do we give to our dear family friends? What can we give to Grandma and Grandpa who say they don’t want anything or have no good gift suggestions? What do we give to Uncle Dave who has everything? A gift card?...again? Grandparents-holiday

Here are a few Shrink Wrapped gift suggestions to help you give something more personal this holiday season:

Cell Lock-Up:  This is literally a little 7-inch jail that will hold captive up to 6 smart phones. You put your phones into jail with a timer, which will not unlock until the set time has elapsed. There is even an audible “break out” warning if someone tries to access their phone before the set time is up. The idea is that the whole family surrenders their phones for a period of time in favor of that old custom, talking to each other, instead of texting. Yes, parents, this also means you and your phones!! Get the Cell Lock-Up at Bed Bath and Beyond, Walmart, or Sears for about $20.

Family Suggestion Box:  All you need is a box with a slit at the top for family members to place suggestions into. This can be as elaborate or simple as you want to make it. You can purchase an aluminum mail box and decorate it with paints, go to your local craft store and get an inexpensive wooden box to decorate with a collage of family photos, or even decorate a shoe box with family memorabilia. Decorating this is a great activity when the kids are bored on the second day of their winter break, and appeals to our “crafty” side. If you are gifting this to another family, include colored pens and note cards, and slip in the first suggestion: a new family tradition of having a special monthly family dinner and opening the suggestion box.

Electronic Picture Frame: This is a great idea for Grandma and Grandpa who just can’t get enough of the family. In many of these models, pictures are downloaded with a simple USB insert and, like magic, your pictures and fond memories rotate within the frame. These have gotten pretty sophisticated lately; some are motion activated, others have remote controls. They are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and price points, perfect for a family on a budget. You can get an electronic picture frame many places such as Radio Shack, Best Buy, or Amazon.  

Family-300x400Customize a Family Piggy Bank: Purchase a standard piggy bank and go to your local arts and crafts store to buy a small portion of chalk board paint. Use chalk board paint to cover a portion of the pig where, after the paint is applied and dries, you can write “Family Savings Goals” with chalk. Let the whole family take votes on what to save up for and write your goal on the pig. This allows everyone to feel included in family goals and be responsible for saving. Goals could include a special dinner out at that new bistro, or a family vacation. Include colored chalk; maybe add money to the piggy bank, or include a book suggesting family activities or get-aways.

Coupon for a Family Portrait: Although getting family pictures taken can be expensive, there is no better investment than spending money on memories. Family portraits are often cherished for generations and generations. Consider asking many members of the family to contribute and gift to the family matriarch or patriarch. On the gift day, think about making a “Coupon” for “One Free Family Portrait Session on a Future Date of Our Choosing.” Kids can help design the coupon or even draw their version of what they think the family portrait will look like.

Charity Donation: Make a charity donation in a family’s name to a charity of choice or an organization which will have sentimental meaning for a family. If there is a family history of Alzheimer’s, for example, make a donation to an Alzheimer’s charity. Get the kids involved by having them make a personalized card that you can use to include the receipt of donation.

Have a wonderful, safe, happy, holiday season! Best of luck with gifting!



Disclaimer: Shrink Wrapped: Sessions To Go ™ is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or supplement assessment and/or treatment by a licensed mental health professional.

Dr. Nicole Joseph © 2012


Dr. Nicole Joseph is a licensed clinical psychologist who currently works for The Child and Family Counseling Group. Dr. Joseph has experience counseling individuals, couples, parents and families. She received her undergraduate degree from American University and finished her Masters and Doctorate at the American School of Professional Psychology. For more information about Dr. Joseph, check out her website.









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