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The holidays will be here quicker than you can say, “Ho ho ho,” and if you’re like most people, you still have a few people left on your list for whom you haven’t found the right gift. Don’t let panic get the better of you! The closer you get to the big day, the more rushed and frantic you may become, which is a recipe for overspending. Slow down and take a few deep breaths. There’s still time to get those people on your list something they’ll truly love.
Some people feel that gift cards are as impersonal as giving cash, but you can make them more personal by giving a card for a place you know the recipient will love, such as a favorite restaurant. Maybe you have someone who loves online shopping. The solution here is easy: an Amazon gift card! A gift card to the local movie theater fits all. Gift cards are available for nearly every store, restaurant, and online retailer you can think of, so there really is something for everyone.
Bucket List Scratch-off Poster
These gifts can last for years. For the book lover, choose a book scratch-off poster filled with 100 classic books that everyone should read. When the recipient finishes a book, he or she scratches off the square to reveal an iconic representation of the book. These fun posters are available for movies, beers, foods, national parks, and things to do with the kids. For the traveler in your life, choose a United States or world map, so the recipient can scratch off every place visited.
Subscription crates are hugely popular, and there are crates for nearly every interest imaginable. Each month, your loved one receives a box filled with goodies. Crates are available for people who love movies, TV shows, video games, makeup, wine, snacks from around the world, and books. You can even get one delivered to your pets with toys and snacks he or she will adore. Crates are particularly great for kids because you can pick an age range and the child will receive an age-appropriate building, science, or engineering delivery each month. These kinds of subscription services can be expensive; however, most allow you to sign up for only a month or two as you gauge the value.
No matter whom you’re buying a gift for, you’ll be able to find a book he or she will enjoy. Many people have specific tastes when it comes to fiction, so it’s best to stick with non-fiction if you’re unsure. Does he love movies? A movie trivia book would be perfect. Does she consider herself an amateur chef? Cookbooks are more than collections of recipes; they’re culinary adventures. Get a book about a hobby, a humorous book for your funniest friend, or a book of activities for toddlers for the expectant mom. Make a list of the likes of your loved one to consider as you walk through the bookstore or browse an online bookseller.
If you have friends on your Christmas gift giving list who live far away, consider sending a sampling of local wares, something unique to your area. Maybe choose a bottle of wine from a nearby winery; choose oranges if you live in Florida; or choose maple syrup if you live in New Hampshire. Is your state famous for something? Look for local artisan shops. Bonus: You’re supporting your local small businesses.
Is there a golfer in your life? Fill a basket with golf balls, tees, and ball markers. Do you have a crossword puzzle aficionado in your midst? How about a basket filled with some crossword puzzle books, and some good pens? Baskets are as easy as throwing a few items in something and tying a bow on it. Other ideas for baskets:
- Artist: A blank drawing book, drawing pencils, and a pencil sharpener
- Winter lover: A warm hat, gloves, toe warmers, and hot chocolate
- Angler: An assortment of line, sinkers, lures, bug spray, and hooks
- Family night: Games, family movie, and snacks
- Foodie: Small cookbook, kitchen gadgets, and some packages of gourmet ingredients
- Gardner: Seed packets, gardening gloves, trowel, and bee sting ointment
- Griller: Grilling utensils, apron, mitt, and spice rubs
- Spa: Bath salts, face masks, candle, and a loofah or two
Jewelry doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful. Craft websites such as Etsy are treasure troves of unique, handcrafted, high-quality jewelry that won’t cost an arm and a leg. The best part of buying from these sites is that you’re supporting artisans doing what they love.
These are usually made in jars. Dry ingredients are layered in the jar and instructions and a list of wet ingredients are affixed to the outside of the jar with a ribbon. Cookies are the most common, but simple cake recipes should work well as long as you include the dry ingredients only.
Hot chocolate is another popular choice. Layer hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and tie a candy cane to the jar with a ribbon. If you’d rather take the easier route, pre-filled jars can be found at many grocery stores in their holiday sections, and department stores typically have them as well.
Consider giving a charitable gift this year. Many charities rely upon the donations they receive during the holidays to continue to help those in need. If you buy an “adoption kit” from the World Wildlife Fund, it’ll send your friend or loved one a plush animal, a photo, and an adoption certificate, and your donation goes toward conservation efforts for that species. The Humane Society and ASPCA rely on donations to help stray animals with food, medical care, and finding loving homes. Holt International is an organization that helps people in need with food, education, and orphanage care. For a donation, you can adopt a goat or chickens in your friend’s name to provide a starving family with sustainable food, provide education that can help lift a child out of poverty, or care for a child that’s waiting to be adopted into a caring family. A gift of charity will make you and your friend or loved one feel empowered. Best of all, it will do good things.
The holidays may be a time for giving, but you shouldn’t go into debt doing so. Create a holiday budget and stick to it. It may take a little extra time and planning, but aren’t thoughtful gifts the best kind?