While it’s nice to receive new clothes, gift cards, or jewelry, consider giving a more meaningful, and useful gift to those on your list this year. Here are five ways to show them you really do love them, today and all year long:

Give life, give blood  

The holiday season sees a great increase in need for life-saving donations. Invite your loved ones to join you in giving to your local blood bank or participating in a drive near you. Enjoy the complimentary cookies and juice afterwards. It will be a memory made together and may save more than one life.

Expose silent killers

Radon, Smoke, and Carbon monoxide detectors are easily-accessible and reasonable affordable at many stores nationwide. This may not seem the most glamorous gift, and it is not, but it is well worth the cost and your loved ones will appreciate it. Plus, it is something that we may overlook when money is tight, so what better gift than to help before it is needed? Radon detectors belong in the basement and smoke/carbon detectors belong on every level in (smoke in every bedroom, carbon outside each bedroom).

Give extra eyes and ears

Okay, so it’s illegal to sell body parts, but we could all use a little help at home. Video and sound monitor for kids or elderly will be your nanny while you’re wrapping presents in the other room. Parents will appreciate the useful gift and caretakers of elderly relatives will have peace of mind knowing they can see and hear their loved one better at home.

First Aid kit for home or vehicle

You never know when accidents will happen, or when you’re away from home and the kids get hurt. Many compact first aid kits made for vehicles are available at stores like Benny’s or Walmart in the automotive section. Larger ones can be found for your home too. Fire extinguishers are great too (homes should have one on every level),

Religious tract or Bible

If you think saving a life is important, why not consider saving a soul? No, I am not a Bible-thumper, at least I don’t think so, but faith in what is right and good can’t hurt a person. Can it? People need to reach out to others, friends, family, co-workers, with love instead of hate and criticism. We may not agree on much, really, but we can agree to love and pray for one another.

These ideas may not come in shiny packages with fancy ribbons, or they might. You may get a funny look or two at first, but they will no doubt be the most useful and thoughtful gift your family members receive this year. I wish you and your family a healthy and safe holiday season filled with warm and happy times.

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