It’s officially the last quarter of the year as we enter what is normally considered the holiday season. Temperatures have been steadily dropping, nights come earlier, traffic gets worse and malls have started displaying holiday decorations. You can now even hear Christmas songs on the radio.
And while it is touted to be the “most wonderful time of the year”, it can be as polarizing as it is uniting. Stress levels are at an all-time high, with people cramming last-minute gift shopping using catalogs, worrying about how to attend all the parties they’ve been invited to (or worrying about the opposite – they haven’t been invited to anything!), and thinking of ways to give something to everyone.
If you are someone who doesn’t have a stable job that will give you a hefty budget for presents, here are some budget-friendly gift ideas that would not let you start the new year bankrupt, or worse, in debt.
1. Gift of service.
Nothing beats being personal by giving oneself. For people close to your heart, you can readily offer a gift of service! You can give “gift certificates” redeemable in a given period to your husband or parents for example (if you are the child) with services such as: free shoulder massage, breakfast in bed, a car wash on a weekend, a week’s worth of laundry, lawn mowing or gardening, doing the groceries or even cooking dinners for a week. You don’t have to spend anything but your time and effort.
2. Handmade gifts.
Anything handmade is precious. It is a one-of-a-kind present that cannot ever be replicated. Try doing something you are good at – whether it’s a poem (have it framed!) or scented candles or soap (that you have been doing!).
Instead of giving photo frames, make it sentimental – add a photo in the frame! Digital photos sadly do not get printed most of the time, so giving them a printed keepsake of a memory is double the gift! Take it one step further and make a photo album or a scrapbook out of your pictures together – whether of an event or a trip.
4. Anything personalized.
Those mugs, pens, kitchen towels might come cheap and look ordinary but when customized with logos or names become treasures. Give something useful and make them pretty – make it theirs.
5. Box of little things.
If you run out ideas, assemble themed boxes. If you have a garden lover, assemble a box of seeds, gloves and a basic set of gardening tools. Movie fanatics would appreciate a subscription to a video rental, movie passes and popcorn boxes with tumblers. These little things are inexpensive but when taken with other related things, make for one thoughtful present.
Remember that at the end of the day, it’s always the thought that counts. People would often get overwhelmed with the number of gifts they receive but they will never forget how thoughtful gifts, no matter how small, are when they are given something they know was done with effort and love.