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9 people you should add to your Christmas list this year

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Add a few out-of-the-box people to your holiday shopping list this Christmas

We all have our default Christmas list we refer to every year, and nothing can bring us more joy than seeing our loved ones' eyes light up when they open the gift we picked especially for them. But this year, it might be time to spread the love a little further by including a couple more names to your Christmas list that you might not normally think of.

These people in your community will be warmed when you show an unexpected token of appreciation during the holidays — and isn't that what the season is truly all about?

1. The mail carrier

Recently, when my state experienced torrential rain and flooding, my husband and I were amazed to see our local mail carrier fighting the elements to make sure we received our mail. Sadly, delivering the mail we depend on is a thankless job, though. Imagine how much it would warm your mail carrier's heart to see the flag up on your mailbox, open it and discover the package waiting is for them. Even something as simple as a nice stationery set will bring a smile to his or her face.

More: DIY votive candles are a lovely last minute gift

2. Your favorite barista

Real talk: You know and I know we couldn't make it through many mornings with that grande venti caramel macchiato. There's no shame in my coffee game — my barista knows me on a first-name basis and I'm not afraid to admit it. So one day this holiday season, when you head in for your favorite hot brew, bring along a little Christmas sercy for your barista. After all, she has given you an extra shot of caramel on the house more than once.

3. The local firehouse

As the wife of a firefighter, I can attest to the fact that the holiday season is an extremely busy time for them. They spend many sleepless nights running calls for fire alarms, security alarms and actual structure fires — all time away from their own loved ones in the name of protecting yours. Be their hero this holiday season by showing up at your local firehouse with a gift suited to these altruistic and often sleep-deprived men and women.

4. Your neighbors

Good neighbors are hard to come by. I should know — we've had some doozies over the years (I won't even get into that time our neighbor started throwing furniture off her balcony while sobbing hysterically). So when fate smiles on you by giving you the kind of neighbor who'll feed your cat when you're out of town or who has become integral to your backyard barbecues, let them know how much you appreciate their normality by bestowing them with a special token of thanks. Even just a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies would have them feelin' the love.

More: 12 Awesome gifts for your friends who love running

5. The teacher that goes above and beyond

Whether you are taking a college course or you have kids, odds are good that you have at least one teacher in your life who never ceases to amaze you with their dedication. You know the type — they are always smiling and always go above and beyond. If you weren't already planning to bring them a gift this Christmas, add them to your list.

6. Your public works providers

Bear with me here. Every single week, you haul your trash and recyclables to the curb, and every week the collectors come by to pick it up. They don't complain when your bin is literally overflowing, nor do they scoff when you stack a virtual wall of lawn debris out for pick-up. But can you imagine how rarely they hear a kind word or gratitude in return? Greet them one morning with a coffee gift card or something equally easy and thoughtful, and I can nearly guarantee you'll get a grin that would make even the Grinch's heart grow.

More: Sugar cookie foot scrub and 16 other creative gifts in a jar

7. Your hairdresser

People tell their hairdressers everything. Seriously. For some reason unbeknown to me, sitting in a stylist's chair draped in a cape just makes a gal want to divulge all of her life secrets. Not to mention, most people are extremely loyal to their hairdresser once they find one that is a good fit. I've been seeing mine for the better part of a decade now, and I'm only just now realizing I've never bought her a Christmas gift to say thanks for always making me look so fierce. This year, I think I'll bring her something super special.

8. The babysitter

Much like your child's favorite teacher, a babysitter is an invaluable resource in a parent's world. They are someone you entrust your child's very well-being to. And, since most babysitters charge a pretty fair rate for such a huge responsibility, it makes sense to splurge on them a little come holiday shopping time.

More: 100 Awesome gifts under $100

9. Yourself

In all of your rushing around and picking up stuff for the loved ones in your life — along with these new additions — it's very easy to get overwhelmed or simply run down. Don't forget that you deserve a little holiday love, too. It's OK to pop into your favorite shop and pick up something you will enjoy during the winter months, like a super cozy robe or that candle warmer you'll been eyeballing.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

Add a few out-of-the-box people to your holiday shopping list this Christmas
Image: rusticcharms/Instagram

Originally published November 2015. Updated December 2016.

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