I definitely have been grateful for the extra help my neighbors have given us this year and would be remiss not give them a gift in the spirit of the season. Our one neighbor has been so helpful in watching our house when we've been away even catching a parked car in our driveway! Thank goodness they saw and called the police, and yes they were not suppose to be there! Another one was gracious enough to help prune some fast growing trees and shrubs encroaching the road. We've had a busy year and he just decided to pitch in! So in the spirit of the season, ask yourself if your neighbors are on your Christmas list.
Whether you live on a farm, in a condo or suburban neighborhood, chances are you have neighbors. With Christmastime approaching you are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to add the neighbors to your gift list. The first question you need to ask yourself is, "Are my neighbors my friends or my neighbors?" If you determine that your neighbors are your friends, regardless of geography, then add them to your list like you would any friend. Shop for them like you would any friend. However, if your neighbors are simply neighbors, the expectation of Christmas gifts becomes a little less clear.
If you decide to give a gift to your neighbors, you need to do so with no expectation of a return gift. You have to be comfortable with the amount of money you've decided to spend and be comfortable with the fact that the neighbors might not have added you to their list. If you're giving them a gift it needs to be given in the spirit of the holiday and not in the spirit of obligation or reciprocation. Remember a truly unique gift idea does not always have to be expensive or outlandish.
The best neighborly gifts are gifts that are slightly generic in nature. They aren't personal or pretentious. Your neighbors should not be able to tell how much money you spent on the gift, so gift cards are out of the question. The gift should also not make the recipient feel uncomfortable if they have no gift for you. It's no easy task to find gifts that fit these criteria and strike these balances.
One of the best generic gifts is a bottle of wine. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a nice bottle of wine and package it in some festive wrapping. If your neighbor invites you in to share in the bottle of wine, you must accept, otherwise you might insult them. Keep this in mind as you choose the bottle of wine; make sure it's one you would enjoy drinking as well!
Another good gift is a Christmas ornament. You can choose a keepsake ornament that has the year on it or you can personalize an ornament with your neighbor's last name. Or, you can simply choose a classy ornament that you think would complement any Christmas tree.
Scented candles are always a nice option for neighbor's gifts. Who doesn't burn a scented candle at Christmastime? Try to find a candle that exudes the holiday spirit. Some suggestions would include cinnamon and spice, peppermint, pine, etc.
If you are a capable baker, it's a great idea to prepare baked goods for your neighbors. This is a convenient gift for you because you can prepare the recipes for as many servings as you've decided you need. Yummy cookies and scrumptious breads go hand in hand with the holidays. These are even easy to wrap as you simply need to use colored brightly colored cellophane and decorative ribbon.