Last Minute Gifts

December 22, 2011

Okay, Friends. Christmas is in a couple of days. Any gift-buying from here on out is officially last-minute. But no stress, because last-minute can be awesome!

Some of the funnest, most thoughtful gifts to gift, whether it’s last minute, or I have all the time in the world, are experiences. Tickets to a show, a trip, that sort of thing. You can schedule the experience for any future date, and quickly wrap up a note with a description for the gift. Jordan did an excellent post on this topic with 10 really cool ideas, and it reminded me, I’ve been meaning to tell you about the cooking class I took last summer from Susan Loomis. A cooking class (or any good class) would make an amazing gift!

Ben Blair and I took the class with my brother Josh and his wife Erin, while they were on a trip to France. Susan’s house is about an hour outside of Paris in an old convent, right across the street from a Cathedral. The setting was stunning and the food was fantastic!


The ingredients were farm fresh and we had Susan all to ourselves so we could get individual instruction and ask a million questions. At one point, Susan took us out into her garden to cut fresh herbs to use in the meal. So cool!

We took a million photos because the whole thing was just so delightful. Here’s a little slideshow. Click Prev/Next if you’d like to see.

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My brother Salem gave us a gift this year that I think falls under “experience”, but didn’t require us to leave our house. He bought us a gift certificate to Kiva, which we used to make a micro-loan to a hard-working borrower. Kiva is new-to-me, but I’m so impressed! My kids got to look through all the loan applicants and pick someone they really wanted to help. They ended up choosing a mother with grown children in Samoa.  Coolest part: when she pays her loan back, we can re-loan the funds to another Kiva entreprenuer. It’s like a perpetual gift!

How about you? Have you ever given or received an “experience” before? A class? A trip? A session with a world class coach? I’d love to hear your ideas!

P.S. — For those of you who have seen the House Hunters International episode, Susan’s house is the second one we looked at — the old convent with lots of stairs and gourmet kitchen. Susan ended up deciding not to sell it — so you can still take classes there!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori H December 22, 2011 at 7:30 am

I love the Kiva idea! I didn’t know you could get a gift certificate.

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2 Sarah Reaves December 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

I love the pictures in this post!

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3 Genevieve December 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

That is so funny! My husband and I sat down and watched the House Hunters International show just last night and I recognized the house! I had been wanting to watch it for awhile. It really inspired my husband and me. So, now we are cooking up some ideas…. :)

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4 Eva @ Sycamore Street Press December 22, 2011 at 9:08 am

I thought this house looked familiar! What a great experience. This is the kind of thing I would love to do while travelling.

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5 Amanda December 22, 2011 at 10:23 am

My husband and I watched the episode of HHI and fell in love with this house. So much in love that we started a “Normandy Fund” so we can, fingers crossed, buy a home there someday. Such a dreamy house.

KIVA is amazing. Anything that supports entreprenuers is really, very fantastic.

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6 Amorette Gwynn December 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

Just gave $25 to a man in Kenya who needs to buy and insure one dairy cow. Thank you so much for sharing – best idea!!! Sending a Merry Christmas to someone else is really awesome!

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7 Margaret December 22, 2011 at 11:31 am

How cool that Kiva regifts the donation once the loan is paid back! My last minute gifts this year were donations at donorschoose.org, which connects you to teachers with specific needs for their classrooms. You can search by interest area (art, science, technology, etc) or school location, to customize the gift for your giftee. Truly satisfying to help a teacher!

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8 se7en December 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Seriously, stunning photographs!!!What a wonderful memory!!! Love it!!!

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9 Erin December 23, 2011 at 8:32 am

Two years ago, when my husband had been laid off his job and we were budgeting Christmas more than ever, I gave him a Kiva gift, too. I picked a woman from Peru, a country where he volunteered in a literacy program, teaching kids and adults to read. I thought it would bring back his memories of helping others. It’s since been repaid and cycled back out several times. I think it’s a neat gift.

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10 ChrisS December 29, 2011 at 1:20 am

I love your blog. I found you through Blue Lilly. I LOVE your family shoot on there. I’m confused, because I watched your House Hunters episode, and Susan the chef’s house was one you looked at. Did she buy it AFTER you looked at it or did it go on the market after your class and this photo?

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