From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the U.S. becomes holiday-shopping obsessed for a few weeks each year. Every year it seems to get worse, with stores opening earlier and earlier and more and more people trampling one another to get the best deals. And let me just put it out there: Shopping on Thanksgiving is just so wrong. Am I right?!

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably determined to show your love and appreciation for friends and family in a more personal way. If I’m going to spend time and money on a gift, I want it to be something personal and meaningful (plus I don’t want to wait in an insane line to pay for it!). With that said, here are my ideas for creative ways to show the people in your life how much you care about them:

Gift a delicious dinner out
What better way to appreciate people than by spending time with them? As basic and cliché as it may sound, my suggestion is to give the gift of a night out at a restaurant your friends or family may not otherwise go to. Boston is loaded with great options (here are the 50 best restaurants in Boston according to Boston Magazine), so take the opportunity to check out new ones and everyone benefits!

Invest in tickets
There are so many great concerts and shows in this city, so when your friends say, “I don’t know if I can afford it,” it’s an opportunity for you to offer up a fun night of culture. From the diverse array of theater, dance and comedy at the Boston Center for the Arts to shows at TD Garden to a culinary night out at Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen, Boston is a cultural hub with great options for every taste and budget.

Support local artists
December is chock full of great craft fairs around the city. From unique ceramics and screen-printed T-shirts to wall hangings and jewelry, there’s no shortage of talent in this area, plus it’s a great way to support our local economy. Here are my top picks for upcoming craft fairs:

Get crafty yourself
There are 101 ways to make your own menorah, and a candelabrum is generally a great way to illuminate the holiday season. From an au natural tree branch menorah to a funky clothespin menorah to a simple pasta menorah you can build with kids, Pinterest is a wonderland for DIY menorahs for every skill level.

Support a cause you both believe in
Give a gift to an organization that means something to you and to your giftee—a Jewish organization with a mission you believe in, a hospital, an alma mater, animal adoption centers, etc. There are many worthy organizations looking to reach their fundraising goals before Dec. 31, and many will even send a nice card on your behalf. Check out #GivingTuesday for inspiration.

Happy holidays!

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