The baking is done, the decorations are perfectly placed and the gifts are all purchased and wrapped. Oh, the anticipation of it all! For me, the excitement is less about the presents that I will receive (although I do love those!) and more about the gifts that I give. I take a lot of time choosing what to give each person and I love seeing the expression on someone’s face when they open the gift that I carefully selected. Sometimes gift-giving can be less than pleasurable when someone is difficult to buy for or when the economy forces us to be more practical than creative, but you can be both practical AND creative while maintaining a hold on your purse strings.
3. Gifts that involve food are always a hit! Many of us find it too much of a splurge to purchase that great salsa from Mexico and those delicious, specialty blue corn chips, but buying them for someone else as a gift makes it an easy indulgence. The recipient will be thankful when they settle down for a snack or when unexpected company arrives.
4. Along with food, also consider a gift of beverages. Living “green” is important, so investing in a nice travel mug along with some ground coffee and a gift card for a local coffee or tea shop can be a hit with adults of all ages. Most coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own mug, so your gift can save money in the long run.
5. A great amount of time is spent in the kitchen and it is always uplifting to have a new little something to spruce it up a bit. Thirsty, quality dish towels that match your mother’s kitchen scheme or even an adorable vintage inspired apron just might be the pick-me-up she needs to liven up her traditional holiday dishes. “New and improved” gadgets abound, peruse your local kitchen store for some fun “gotta have that” items that could make time in the kitchen even more efficient.
6. Another practical indulgence for the kitchen or bathroom is a finely scented set of hand soap and lotion. Kitchen and bath stores offer a selection of brands that can pamper and soothe the most delicate of hands, and this offers a useful, consumable item for which the recipient will be grateful.
7. One big trend is to have something with a monogram on it. Handmade note cards with your sister’s first initial on them or luxurious hand towels embroidered with your neighbor’s last initial are gifts that are both useful and personal.
8. Treat a friend to artisan handcrafted jewelry, something she may not splurge on for herself. Choose something neutral that she can wear with anything and she may think of you day after day, or find a fun, funky statement piece that fits her personality. What fun to own something that is one of a kind! Including the artisan’s card is an added touch in case she wants to purchase complementing pieces in the future.
9. One of the most special family relationships is that of a grandparent and grandchild and it is important for them to connect. Sometimes it is difficult when grandparents live far away but modern technology is here to help. Digital photo frames allow for many photos to be displayed in one frame and they are easily updated, which can keep grandparents aware of what is going on in the lives of their loved ones. Another thoughtful gift to consider is a webcam so that grandparents can talk to their grandchildren “in person” over the computer.
10. No money to buy gifts this year? Consider writing a note that tells what you love about a special person in your life. Recall memories that bring a laugh or even a tear or create a coupon book for things like a back rub or an uninterrupted evening walk. This investment of a little time and effort can be more meaningful—and more treasured—than any purchased gift.
The possibilities are endless. Consider the one you are giving to and their personality and stage of life. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “The only gift is a portion of thyself,” and there are many thoughtful, practical and affordable options out there for you to tangibly show that someone matters to you this holiday season.