1 - A clean house. One that I don't have to make happen. If my kids were to sweep and mop all the floors, vacuum the rugs, scrub the baseboards, scrub the bathrooms, wipe off the windowsills, clean the dog prints off the windows, dust, you get the idea; then write up a card and wrap that to put under the tree, it would be one of the best presents EVER!
2 - Laundry done and folded and put away. See the above post.
3 - Doing the dishes for me on my night. See #1 again.
4 - A backrub. Or foot massage. Or just lotion rubbed into my feet. I promise I'll even wash them first.
5 - An uninterrupted bubble bath, with chocolates and sparkling cider and candles. Okay, how about just a good book or magazine and a nice long bath?
6 - Dinner cooked for me. Where I don't have to plan out the menu or buy the ingredients or do any other kind of prep for it. It doesn't even have to be gourmet.
I'm seeing a trend here. I'd love to have a break from being mom and housewife. I want someone to pamper me for a change. Most moms would adore that.
Okay, second list. Here are some gifts you can give people who are NOT your mother or wife -
1 - If your friend writes books or sells crafts or does anything similar, leave them a review. Share a post about it on social media. Help do some promo for them. You don't have to be obnoxious or pushy about it, just a comment or post that "Hey, this is really cool. Check it out." They appreciate it more than you know.
2 - Share a plate of cookies or a loaf of bread or some other holiday goodie with your neighbors or coworkers or even just random strangers in the park. Give them a smile whether they accept or not.
3 - Shovel someone's walk if you live where it snows. Or rake their leaves. Just do something nice for a neighbor. My husband pulls up sticker plants whenever he sees them, no matter what lawn they are growing in. Or pick up trash as you walk your neighborhood. It's a small thing, but helps make the area that much nicer.
4 - Be polite, especially to retail workers. They may be grumpy but that doesn't mean you need to be grumpy, too. Maybe they've been at work for ten hours straight. Maybe their feet are achy and sore. Maybe the last ten people have been rude and impatient and unreasonable. Maybe they are worried about their children or their parents. Whatever the reason, being patient and polite and kind won't cost you anything and you might just lift their spirits.
I could go on, but this post is already getting longer than I thought it would be. We focus so much on gifts and giving this time of year. We get bombarded with messages to buy, BUY, BUY, BUY!!!! But sometimes the absolute best gifts are small, simple, and free. Find a way to serve someone. I love the way it makes me feel so much, I try to do this all year.
And don't forget to make your mom's day - scrub the kitchen until it shines! Wash the windows! Mop a floor! Without her asking. Even if you haven't lived in her house for decades, she'd still appreciate it. Unless you went over in the middle of the night, snuck into the house, and started vacuuming. Then you might get shot or arrested.