Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Impossible Gifts Made Possible

We are closing in on the ho-ho-home stretch for Christmas, but as of two days ago 52% of Americans had not finished their holiday shopping. The same survey showed that 29% of men (and 19% of women) had yet to even start their holiday shopping. And that's OK. Some people prefer to wait and enjoy the excitement, beauty and spirit of Christmas shopping at Christmas time (or that's what they're telling themselves right about now).

Here are the top three gripes* of last-minute shoppers:
1. I don't know what he/she wants.
2. He/she doesn't need anything.
3. I'm broke.
* Gripes are completely made up by SB Gift Girl. (But you know I'm right.)

The good news: all three gripes can be taken care of with the same list of gift ideas. Since it is the thought that counts (really), your job is not to shop for something your giftees need -- chances are they are capable of buying that themselves.Your job instead is to come up with something that says, "I like you, and I thought you would enjoy this."

Here are some quick ideas for impossible-to-buy-for giftees and/or can't-afford-to-buy-anything gifters.

DIY gift certificates - If you have a computer (or a pen) you can create a gift certificate for personal services -- a gift of time, which is a precious commodity for anyone on your list. Think about what your giftee would like help with, and think about what your skills are. For example:
  • Photography
  • Dog-walking
  • Errands
  • Handyman help
  • Personal training
  • Tutoring
  • Closet organizing
  • A date for a picnic, a hike, or a fun adventure you know the giftee would enjoy
Lottery tickets - Your measly $10 gift might make your friend a millionaire! See if you can come up with a clever presentation...for example, tape each lottery ticket to a wooden skewer and tuck the sticks into a potted poinsettia plant, or use the tickets to frame a picture of your giftee's dream car or fantasy vacation destination.

Re-gifting - Re-gifting is OK in my book...if you get a gift you're not going to use, this can be viewed as a form of recycling and a wise cost-cutting measure. Proceed with caution, though -- the gift should be (a) unused and (b) appropriate. Please. Double-check for hidden notes or gift cards from the original gift-giver, and be certain that your giftee was not involved in the original transaction.

Homemade gifts - Yes, time is tight, but if you're not shopping you might have time to put together something homemade. Again, think about your skill sets, and don't be afraid to stretch a little. Quick (but thoughtful) ideas (find info online) might include hot cocoa mix, painted ornaments, homemade liqueur, a set of refrigerator magnets made from vintage earrings or buttons, a jar of your special marinade...?

Cash - Cash on its own is kind of a tacky gift for a friend or loved one -- currency needs a card or some sort of dressing to avoid seeming like a tip or payoff. If it's given with a sense of humor, then it's even more fun. Tape a bunch of one-dollar bills end-to-end, roll them up, and stuff them in an empty Kleenex box (to be unreeled -- great drama). Or plop it in a funny coffee mug. Or peeking out of a stuffed toy. Then you've got a gift that's memorable AND useful.

Funny gifts - If your giftee has a good sense of humor, you might be able to come up with a humorous gift that will (a) mean a lot and (b) not cost much. Could be a goofy re-gift, could be a funny book of certificates, could be the moose head that hung in your fraternity house. Only you will know what might work...

It's the thought that counts. So keep thinking!

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