The world is really putting on the ritz now, and everybody has their best stuff out. The problem is; we can’t spend as much as we’d like on gift giving. Budgets are an ugly reality in this economy that won’t seem to rebound. The good news is that great gifts don’t have to break the bank, and it’s possible to get friends, neighbors, colleagues and others wonderful, thoughtful gifts that they will appreciate and use on a daily basis. While candy seems to be a usual default, well, there’s plenty of that. If you want to get something unique, here are a few ideas for friends, neighbors, colleagues, or others on your gift list that you want to buy for, but don’t know how:
- Books, movies, or TV series on DVD. Great variety and wonderful entertainment for the cold months when it’s great to stay at home, or to take on mobile devices when you’re on the go.
- Weather radios. I absolutely love ours. I listen to it every morning while I do hair and makeup. This is something that everybody should have in their home. You can get them in a variety of styles and designs, from simple radios to the fancier ones that you can set with a county code to give you weather alerts. If you know somebody that doesn’t have a weather radio, get them one for Christmas this year. Don’t forget the battery for the backup, too.
- Computer accessories – especially laptop cooling mats, a wireless mouse, microfiber screen wipe cloths, or flash drives. If you know somebody that’s on their computer a lot, you can’t go wrong with these accessories. If you know somebody that uses their computer on a daily basis (especially a laptop), then they can definitely use these things.
- A firesafe box. This is something else that everybody should have in their house. Smaller ones aren’t too expensive, and it’s a great thing to keep important documents or valuables in.
- A paper shredder. Again, they run in a variety of price ranges, but a small one isn’t very expensive and this is something that everybody can use.
- Crock pots. These are a working person’s best friend, because you can put the ingredients in the pot before work, and have a meal ready when you get home. Little effort, little fuss, little mess. They come in a variety of sizes and aren’t very expensive. In fact, Rick and I have gone through 2 of these in the 15 years we’ve been married.
- Stress “squeeze” balls. These are great for office workers or people that type a lot, because they’re the best way to relieve hand tension. They’re great novelty items too, because they come in a variety of sizes and designs.
- Tervis Tumblers or other “thermo” style mugs. The world is overrun with Christmas coffee mugs this time of year, so step outside of the box and get them a thermo mug or, if your budget will allow, a Tervis Tumbler. My previous boss got us Tervis Tumblers last year, and I’ve used mine practically every day since. I can put my water in it when I get to work, and it’s still cold at the end of the day (if there’s any left). These are great because they can be used year-round for hot or cold beverages.
- Study Bibles and/or Devotional Books. A Bible that details a year long reading plan is a great gift for church friends. If they already have one, there are plenty of year long devotional books on the market right now. If you aren’t sure of their religious preferences, Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy is a great women’s devotional. It was published in the mid 90’s, but the devotions on pursuing authenticity are still great and timely today.
- Slipper socks. I raised my eyebrows a few years back when several co-workers gave these as gifts, but I use them during the winter all the time! They’re great (and were a real Godsend when I sprained my ankle a few years ago). Don’t underestimate this gift. They might not have a “wow” reaction to it at first, but they’ll say “wow” when they get home and try them.
- Make up kits. These were a “big thing” to get teens and pre-teens back in the days before computers and iPods, and they’re great for adults too. Make up kits with eyeshadow, blusher, and lip gloss are a great gift because they offer a variety of make-up options, all in one. They’re great for traveling, too.
- Gift subscriptions. Love your Netflix? Know somebody that also likes movies but hasn’t discovered it’s magic yet? Give them a trial membership. The same can go for magazines or other services that you think people might appreciate. I just urge you to keep one thing in mind: check with them to make sure it’s something they’d like, because this can easily become a “cop out” gift over time if you don’t communicate with the recipient to make sure it’s a gift that they WANT to keep on getting.
- Gift cards. There are some people that think gift cards are a “cop out” gift, but I think this actually shows that you trust and respect their judgment. Gift cards are a great way to allow people to gift themselves whenever and wherever they prefer, and it shows that you pay attention to their tastes and preferences. Even a $10 gift card to a store, restaurant, or movie theater that you know they like gives them the freedom to go out and enjoy life their own way. And if they’re on a tight budget, it gives them relief to get what they want or need without anxiety.
- Electronic “pocket games.” If you need a White Elephant gift or something simple but fun, these are great. I still love the Yahtzee game that Rick stuck in my stocking 10 years ago, and I’ve seen variations on other games at discount stores. (Check the boys’ toy aisle if they don’t have them on a novelty shelf somewhere) Most of them run under $10. But be careful. You might cackle at it, but they can get addictive!
- Sampler gift bags. The past couple of years, I made gift bags for my co-workers with sample items of products that I regularly use: hand lotion, lip gloss, a nail file, tweezers or small manicure scissors, shower gel, nail polish – just small things that I enjoy. Another co-worker did this, and she put in a pocket size flashlight in her bag. You can find lots of little sample items or small things to include in a sample bag, and you set the budget for it. Gather up some samples or small items that you enjoy, put them in a gift bag with some tissue paper, and you have a fun, practical gift that people will enjoy.
Take care and have a great week.