As the old saying goes, “it is better to give than to receive.” As it turns out, there’s a reason that is an old saying; today, gift giving is stressful. It’s almost impossible to buy a gift without a million questions running through your head: “will she like it?”, “does he already have one?”, “will they use it?”, “am I spending enough money?”, “am I spending too much money?”, “is he buying a gift for me?”, and the list goes on. The following gifts are great for every occasion, are almost always crowd pleasers, and easy on your wallet.
Yes, this is the most obvious gift, but you can’t go wrong with gift cards. Some of my favorite types of gift cards to give are Amazon, Target, or TicketMaster.
You can put a picture on almost anything anymore. The good news is that people are not going to get sick of seeing pictures of their children, grandchildren, friends, or other loved ones anytime soon. Some favorites are picture calendars, digital picture frames, and keepsake boxes. The following websites are great starting places for photo gifts: www.kodakgallery.com, www.photogifts.com, and www.shutterfly.com.
If you have enough time and creative talent, gifts such as a scrapbook, photo book, or video slideshow will be cherished for years to come. Target is a great resource for photo books and video slideshows as they have kiosks that create them for you when you provide the pictures. If you are even a little bit computer savvy, Windows Movie Maker is great for creating slideshows with music. Better yet, it’s free!
The options are endless on subscriptions. You should be able to find a magazine subscription for just about anybody. You can also give a Netflix subscription, or a gift of the month subscription. Additionally, the price range on subscriptions can vary to fit just about any budget.
Getting Gifts on Discount
It is possible to get great discount gifts without getting up at 3 A.M. on Black Friday to cat fight for limited items. If you sign up for e-mail discount services (such as Groupon, Living Social, and Weekly Plus), you can get great discounts and learn about local companies that you never knew existed. You can also visit www.restaurant.com and get restaurant gift cards at 50% off. If you have a certain gift in mind, look for an unopened, unused version on www.ebay.com (this works especially well with gifts such as books or movies).
The Gift of Experience
Marketing 101 states that people are more interested in buying an experience than a good. This is exactly why people go to Starbucks to buy a $5 cup of coffee instead of going to the gas station for a $2 cup of coffee. You can give the gift of experience with movie tickets, concert tickets, indoor skydiving passes, horseback riding lessons, the list is endless.
Gifts On Which You Can’t Put a Price
Everyone is busy, everyone has stress, everyone can use some more peace of mind. You can buy priceless gifts such as housecleaning, concierge services, or baby-sitting. If you are on a tight budget, offer to provide these services yourself.
Make it Personal
Personalized gifts will always be remembered. Many artists create paintings that incorporate a family name (such as www.ThomasHanlon.com). If the person for which you’re buying has a somewhat common last name, go to Google shopping, and enter their last name. You’ll likely find it as a brand name and be able to buy items such as coasters, jerseys, or signs. For instance, my maiden name is Young, which also happens to be the name of an English brewing company – they sell clocks, bar glasses, you name it. If your recipient has an uncommon name, or if you’re looking for something specific, www.personalizationmall.com will be your best bet for special ordering an item.
Names are not the only way to make a gift personal, however. You can also find stores that are heritage-specific (such as stores that sell Irish gifts), religion-specific, or political party-specific for the passionate gift receiver. If the recipient especially likes a certain movie, book, or celebrity, look for a t-shirt of their interest on www.cafepress.com. For television buffs, a season of a favorite show will keep them happy for hours (added bonus: next year you can buy them another season of the same show – you won’t need a gift idea for years!).
If you want to be sure you’re giving a gift that they’ll remember, or shopping for the one who has it all, here are some great resources:
If you have given or received a great gift, please comment and tell me about it. Here’s to a stress-free holiday season!
I always seem to find the perfect gifts at all the wrong times. Now I keep a gift list so when the time is right, I’ll know what to get and I don’t waste time wandering around stores. I keep my list in my Personal Notebook.
Gift List in Excel (so you can make your own modifications): Gift List
Gift List in pdf: Gift List