The holiday season is here, which means, gifts, gifts, and more gifts! If you are not giving them, you are getting them by the dozen; and if you are doing neither, you are sitting with a list in your hand wondering what to give to all those around you. Maintaining a delicate balance between your budget and giving a gift that your friends will like might seem impossible, but in fact, it is quite possible. But, it requires thought, effort, and novelty.
Instead of getting people run-of-the-mill gifts like a silver photo frame (yawn) or ceramic ware for their kitchen (zzzzz…), why not give some ingenious and unique gifts; gifts that won’t break your bank but will still convey the sincerity of your feelings.
Exploit your Culinary Skills
If you’ve always been complimented for your cookies and muffins, now’s the time to put your skills to good use. But, don’t forget to make the presentation fun and surprising. Instead of giving gingerbread cookies in regular old paper plates sealed with cling wrap, pick up a colorful tin from the dollar store for your niece; or, choose a nice tray and place chocolate covered strawberries in a decorative pattern for your colleagues; or make some jelly and put it in some interesting, cheaply priced jars from Ikea for your roommate. Sky is the limit if you choose to exercise your imagination.
Time Honored Gifts
If your best friend is forever pressed for time between long hours at work and taking care of home and hearth, you could give her some of your time as a Christmas gift. Give her an envelope with a note in it that goes, “This entitles the bearer to 4 afternoons of leisure time in the month of January to do as he/she pleases. No holds barred. No strings attached.” Trust me, your friend will appreciate the gesture a lot and use the time to pamper herself or even catch a few hours of undisturbed sleep.
The Luxury of a Getaway
This idea is for all those who keep boasting about their second property – a place on the beach or a cabin in the mountains or even a cottage in the countryside. You can offer your friend or family a weekend getaway there. An interesting way to do this would be to pick up a local souvenir from around the place where your second house is along with a tempting picture of the house itself and wrap it up with a little note, “See where you are headed next weekend. Merry Christmas”
Don’t Hold Back Anymore
Still jealously guarding the secret recipe of your celebrated Pasta Bolognaise that your daughter-in-law has been asking about? Still holding on to that beautiful doll that your younger sister eyed for so many years? Why not let go this year and share with your loved ones. Put all your recipes in a scrap book with pictures, personal comments, and suggestions and give it to your daughter-in-law this Christmas. Hand over the keys of your favorite car to your son and allow him to use it for a few weekends. Wrap that gold charm bracelet your daughter has admired so much and surprise her with it. Clean up the doll, tie a ribbon around it and take it to your little sister. After all, it is the thought that counts, isn’t it?