Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Give a Great Gift on a Budget

Choosing a good gift is a skill that, like any, needs to be honed. Deciding on the perfect present becomes even trickier when coupled with an economy like the current one, when we all need a dollar to stretch a little further. But never fear! There are great gifts for everyone on your list if you know where to look.

Every gift guide offers this tip, but that's because it's really useful: know your recipient. Think of all of the person's likes and dislikes, his/her sense of humor, and his/her job or school status. It might even help you to imagine what a day in his/her life is like to get an idea of the types of things they use or need.

 

Another way to ease the burden of Christmas shopping and picking out a gift is to pay attention during the rest of the year. Make note of things your friends say, such as "I could really use a better corkscrew" or "My iphone case is getting so beat up." Then the next time you see a good price on a corkscrew or a custom iphone case, snatch it up and stow it away for Christmas. I also like to keep a list of gift ideas for people in a Word document, so when someone's birthday rolls around, I'm not scrambling.


Gathering items throughout the year (okay, starting in like September?) will also ease the financial budget around the holidays because you will already have some of your shopping done.

An option for cutting costs and getting something for the person who has everything is to shop online at a site like Etsy, where the items are unique and handmade. You will be helping small businesses and you can be sure your recipient won't already have the item you choose. To save on shipping costs, order more than one item from the same seller, or order lighter items that are cheap to send. For instance, artbarkers is a mom-n-pop Etsy store where you can buy animal-centric mosaics and pop art prints starting at around 8 dollars.

 

 
 Choose a print of your uncle's favorite dog breed, or send a peacock print for the walls of your grandma's living room.

Sometimes a few smaller items will stack up better than just one item that meets your price requirements. With a price range of 20 dollars, you can give someone a homemade Christmas ornament (or stuffed animal), a bar of gourmet Theo chocolate, a customized magnet from Zazzle.com and a funky journal made from recycled materials