The alternative gift card

Alert shoppers know that gift cards are a little bit of a scam, and a copout as well.

What to do if the last minute has arrived and all you have is the internet and a printer?

One thought: establish a pattern of giving. You can give a loan to a nascent entrepreneur, buy a cow for a farmer, invest in a new school here or here. Easy to print out, easier to wrap.

It will certainly have far more impact (and less breakage) than something from the iTunes store.

Another thought: order a book that, in January, when it's quieter, will make some serious change. What a great way to say, "I care about you, and I think you're smart."

Print out the cover and share the joy again when it arrives and again after it has done its work. Consider Steve Pressfield, Brene Brown or possibly my new book.

(Here are three more, for designers.)