Lost somewhere among the crumpled, glittery wrapping paper and your dwindling savings account is the feeling of friendship and warmth that we want to share with others. Too often, however, that “warmth” becomes an overextended credit card bill and may even result in resentment as the stress grows to continue your streak of giving the best gifts ever.
But shopping need not be stressful. Gift giving doesn’t have to mean a commercialized, highly advertised electronic toy or gadget. Consider these very personal, very meaningful and, incidentally, very inexpensive holiday gifts:
1. Homemade food gifts.
They’re fun, delicious, and can become a tradition. Pick up a decorative tin to wrap your treats in at your local craft store. And you don’t have to be a talented baker, either. One creative woman I know purchased 30 pitchers, packed each one with the ingredients for a daiquiri and wrapped the recipe inside. An easy gift idea and she gave it to almost everyone on her list.
2. Framed photographs.
For grandparents or anyone else who would enjoy pictures of you, your kids, your pets or any combination.
If you have a poem or special quote you want to share with those you love, have it printed up with a suitable picture and framed or laminated for a very personal gift. The more you print up, the more you save, so get together with a neighbor or co-workers and split the savings. If you do this for a few years, friends and family will start looking forward to your yearly words of inspiration.
4. Coupon gift books.
For the special child in your life. Each coupon can be redeemed for a gift that you specify or perhaps a special trip with you. This one is easy to ship!
5. Kids appreciate personalized pictures, too.
Using high-quality paper and markers, write an adjective for each letter of a child’s name. For example, Lisa could read:
6. Special interest kits.
Featuring the favorite hobby of the recipient are sure to go over well. If your cousin loves to fish, his kit might include adhesive bandages, beef jerky, candy, sunglasses, matches, and his favorite fishing hooks. Without spending a lot, you can personalize a gift for anyone. This type of gift tells recipients that you took the time to think about what’s important to them.
Don’t limit yourself to the ideas here. Visit a craft store and get creative. There’s no law that states that holiday gifts have to come from the mall or a mail order catalog, and when the holiday season is over, you’ll see the difference in your credit card statement.