As the pressure of gift giving approaches, many of us are starting to think beyond the traditional gifts. Consider supporting small businesses that provide services most of us need.

Ideas include a gift certificate from the local hair salon or barber, a gift especially needed by the job hunter.

An oil change or other maintenance from a local shop, is appreciated by any car or motorcycle owner. No car? How about offering the services of a cleaning person for a day?

Restaurants, bakery or movie theater certificates are a great gift for the whole family.

If you are looking for that generous gift, your receiver might like their driveway plowed all winter, yard landscaped or another home maintenance or major project.

What about that family or friend that can’t afford to eat right? A bottle of U.S. made vitamins is what I’ll be giving.

Wanting to give that unique gift? Local craftsmen and artists make pictures, jewelry, pottery and many [other] types of beautiful pieces of art.

For your holiday celebrations, remember there are amazing local musicians here available to hire.

If you happen to receive a gorgeous, but not-your-type gift that can’t be returned, donate it to a charity. Idyllwild School will need items for its Blast to the Past talent show and auction this spring and the public library needs books and movies.

By taking the time to support small businesses, you just may save yourself shopping time, gas hunting for a parking spot at the huge mall and you may be giving a gift that is really appreciated.

Merrie VonSeggern