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Gifts That Change Lives.

January 31, 2011

Every time a birthday rolls around and especially during the holiday season that feeling of, I have no idea what to get sets in. It’s that feeling of dread as you stand in front of a sweater, staring at it wondering, will she even wear it? There is nothing worse than the look of disappointment your mother shoots you  when she opens her birthday gift and an oversized purple glitter sweater is staring her in the face. Did I mention it had shoulder pads? I have since resolved to purchase only meaningful gifts. I recently read an article on MSN.com about the top gifts that can change lives. Aside from the obvious like an engagement ring, which I wouldn’t be purchasing anyway, there are a few things you can put your money towards that will have an everlasting impression.

  • A Pet– Getting someone a dog or cat is like giving someone a child, without the birthing process. If you are thinking of getting someone a pet first find out exactly what kind of pet they want. Take into account their lifestyle, not all pets are created equal and some adapt better in different settings. Pets are a wonderful addition to anyone’s life but make sure the soon to be owner is ready for the committment. There is nothing worse than bonding with a fuzzy feline or precious puppy and having to give it up. Consider covering the costs for the initial vet visit which will include the basic vaccines.
  • An Inspiring Book or Piece of Art– I will never forget the 1st book I read that I fell in love with. It was called Journey to Jo’Burg by Beverley Naidoo and I was in the second grade. I have 3 copies of this book and read it several times a year. Much like my coveted book, my poster of Le Chat Noir, brings an instant smile to my face.  Giving someone a piece of literature or art that will constantly inspire or bring a sense of happiness is fantastic. Have you ever seen something and thought, that just screams Dad? If that happens while at a book store or even with a small item for home decorating, buy it. Chances are they will love it.
  • An Education– The cost of an education can be a pretty penny, so many people won’t  pursue a degree. I’m not saying you pay the full tuition, unless you can afford to do so, but you can make a donation. You can offer to pay for books that year or contribute to a 529 college savings plan. Even with a seemingly small percentage of help, it can really give someone the added push to pursue an education and will serve as a lifetime benefit.
  • The Act of Kindness– This one is my favorite. Not all gifts need to be bought and wrapped up with a bow. The best gifts are the ones that come straight from the heart. The money you would have spent on that Calvin Klein leather jacket for your brother can be donated on his behalf to a number of charities. Acts of kindness can also be done money free. Simply giving someone a few encouraging words or offering to help shovel the elderly woman down the block does wonders. The act of kindness isn’t one that should only be given on holidays but everyday. You’d be amazed how the littlest things in life can make a world of difference.

At GAI (www.gunwel.com) we run on a constant supply of kindness. If you want to give a gift like a charitable donation or contribute to an education savings plan, we can help you with the added bonus of a tax deduction on your yearly tax return! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!! Not sure if you can afford a large gift? Let us help you  reach your goal by creating a spending plan.  So give us  a call at 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit. We look forward to meeting you!!

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