... Or consider donating them

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:15 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Not every gift is the perfect gift.

If Katie Scott, 23, were to be given a pedicure set, she would wonder whether she was being told her feet were “stinky.”

Not every gift has sentimental meaning.

If Sally Hawkins, 20, were to be given fake jewelry, she would much rather give it away than wear it.

Yet sooner or later every gift finds a place.

“From Dec. 22 to 23, distribution of toys and food baskets take place here,” said Shirley McDonald, public relations director of the Salvation Army in Springfield, Mo.

In Missouri, places such as homeless shelters and the Salvation Army accept donations during the holiday season.

“Donations at our thrift store continue through the year; however, during November and December we organize special programs for adults,’’ McDonald said. “We also have several holiday activities during this time.”

The Tree of Lights campaign in November and December is the main fund-raiser. It helps support all of the holiday activities as well as the programs held throughout the year.

Dennis Hansen, planning unit chief of the Salt Waste Management Program at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, stressed giving items as well as ecologically friendly gifts to help protect the environment.

“It is important to preserve the spirit of giving; give enough so it is appreciated, not so much that you overwhelm the person you are giving the gift to,” Hansen said.

He said gift givers can minimize waste by saving on the wrapping paper, saving the bows for the next big occasion and putting a lot of thought into gift giving. He also suggested buying fewer goods with high quality and durability.

“We appreciate people gifting things to the Salvation Army,” McDonald said.

Scott said she would do just that with gifts she didn’t like.

Although Janet Wall, a private tutor in Columbia gives gifts to all kinds of charities, she believes in giving gifts, especially to people she knows well.

“I give things to people whose personal needs I know of,’’ she said. “I believe it is the best thing to do.”

To minimize waste, Hansen talked of giving people living things such as house plants and garden seeds that can extend beyond the Christmas season.

“The important thing is not to throw it away,’’ he said. “It was meant as a gift and someone put some thought into it.”

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