Give a little bit
I love buying small gifts for people. If I'm out and about and I see something inexpensive that's just perfect for someone I know, chances are good that I'll buy it. The little gifts are usually kind of odd things, too, like tiles printed to look like wine labels or charms with these hilariously bad illustrations printed on them. Every time my sister goes away for a semester or a summer, I send her at least one package stuffed with fruit snacks and her favorite kinds of candy. I made her a mix CD of 90s hits and sent it to her while she was away at archaeological field school and she loved it. Friends with kids might get a cute baby outfit, kid-friendly measuring spoons, Sesame Street coloring books, or alligator rainboots from Goodwill. If I read a book and think a friend will love it, I might buy a copy with a really good bookstore coupon and send it along. Sometimes I buy my mom a nice bar of chocolate and stop by to visit her at work. Recently, I got a taste of my own medicine when someone bought a small but thoughtful gift for Nico. We had a playdate with a mom from our nursing group and her daughter, and a couple of days later they left a Halloween treat bag on our front porch containing a box of apple cinnamon Cheerios, some rice puffs, and a cute pair of skeleton socks. Knowing how that treat bag made my day, I definitely won't be giving up my small-gifting ways anytime soon.
I'm also a huge fan of sending real mail. Care packages are my favorite thing to send, but I have to limit myself so I don't blow our budget on postage. Even in the age of e-cards and facebook wishes, I try to take the time to send birthday cards and postcards and occasionally just-because cards. With my husband's entire family living in another state, sending out baby pictures has become an important addition to the mailing-out routine. Having a baby in the internet age is nice, in that we can upload Nico's pictures to photo-sharing sites and then give the links to family. Even so, nothing beats actual printed photographs, and I've known since Nico was born that we'd probably be sending out a photo card for Christmas this year. Needless to say, when I read about the opportunity to earn 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, I jumped at the chance. The hardest part was narrowing it down to just a few Christmas cards that I like. You can see my favorites and find out how to win 50 cards for yourself over at my review blog.