While digging through a full kitchen drawer in the hopes of purging and reorganizing its overflowing contents, I came across some delightful little “coupons” that my son had made for Mother’s Day when he was around 7 or 8 years old. I bet most of us have either given or received these fun handmade, heartfelt items that often include free hugs, special dinner dates or tasks that someone else will do for you if you cash them in. It’s a clever and useful idea … if you actually remember to use them!

The Coupon Gift

I flipped through the pile of custom coupons and pulled out one that read (in my son’s handwriting): “Clean my room without complaining.” I then handed it over to my now almost-11-year-old who was rummaging through the refrigerator. He scrunched up his face and asked, ”What’s this?” I informed him that he’d made that coupon for me, and I was finally using it. Right now. He grabbed it from my hand, hung his head and started shuffling away. “Hey — don’t forget that last part,” I called out to him, “the no complaining clause!” He paused, stood straighter, put a fake smile on his face and marched up to his room. “Too bad you don’t have one of these coupons from Daddy to clean up the garage!” he shouted from upstairs.

My son was right. It really was too bad that I didn’t have that coupon. But the whole ordeal did get me thinking…

The Gun Gift Idea

I know it’s almost Christmas, and a lot of people are emptying wallets and charging credit cards to get all the presents on those wish lists. But don’t forget the gift of experiences. Consider sharing some target therapy with loved ones and friends this holiday season. No, I don’t mean going shopping at that certain big box store of the same name. I mean taking someone to the range or offering them some help to learn the shooting fundamentals or to hone his or her firearms skills.

So if you need a great gift idea or an excuse to go shooting this holiday season (or any time), give the gift of target therapy! Be a good mentor. Bring someone brand new to the range. Introduce a family member to the fun of shooting sports. Teach and model the universal safety rules. Help a friend or coworker shop for that first firearm. You could make up a whole coupon book for those! And as NSSF’s “+ONE movement” says, “If just one in three of America’s recreational shooters adds one new person to the shooting sports, we’ll secure a strong future for generations to come.”

In my opinion, nothing beats the gift of investing your personal time in someone else. And learning how to be more self-sufficient, safe, confident and responsible when it comes to protecting yourself and the ones you love is something Santa can’t manufacture at his workshop!