By Jessica Klinner
As if the year hasn’t flown by quick enough, it’s now time to start thinking about holiday gifts. New gadgets and gaming consoles often top wish lists and while they’re fun to receive, they’re not as fun to give, especially if you’re on a budget. Instead of giving a gift card or money as an alternative, try stepping outside the box and giving something a little more personal. Listed below are a few ideas for giving personalized gifts without having to spend a fortune.
1. Cards Against Humanity
“Cards Against Humanity” is a new party game that is taking the country by storm. It’s basically “Apples to Apples” for adults. The rules are simple: Each player draws ten white cards. One player is selected to be the Card Czar and plays a black card. The remaining players pick out a white card that completes the sentence or phrase on the black card. Once all the cards have been submitted, the Card Czar picks his/her favorite one. The player whose card is selected wins the round. It’s a great gift to give a friend or family member who has a great sense of humor and likes to have fun. The card game can be purchased or downloaded for free on the company’s website.
2. Magazine Subscription
Instead of buying someone a gift that might be used once and never looked at again, buy them a subscription to their favorite magazine. A magazine subscription is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. They’ll receive a new issue once a month for a whole year without having to pay a dime. For the sports lover, get “Sports Illustrated.” For the music lover, a subscription to “Rolling Stone” will be perfect. Most subscriptions cost no more than $20. So many specialized magazines exist today that it will be easy to find the perfect fit for everyone on your holiday shopping list!
3. Movie Night Basket
Not everyone has the time or money to go see a movie when it’s in theaters. One of the best gifts you can give during the holidays is a personalized movie night basket. Buy a basket or bucket to fill with candy, popcorn, and a few great movies or just one of the best new releases. Try to personalize the basket by finding out the person’s favorite candy and a few movies they love that they may not already own. The recipient of this gift will love the thought put into the gift more than a fancy new gadget or gift card.
4. Make a Scarf
Instead of buying an expensive scarf at a small boutique, grab a crochet hook and make one yourself. While this may not save you time, it will surely save you money. Go to the nearest craft store to buy supplies like yarn and a “How To” book and you’ll be ready to go. A handmade gift shows how much time and effort you put into making it and will impress anyone who receives the gift.
5. Quote Jar
Many people enjoy buying daily calendars with tear away pages containing inspirational quotes or funny jokes. This year, instead of buying a calendar, make your own motivational quote jar. Jars can be purchased almost anywhere, but the best place to get them would be a craft store. Print out as many quotes as you see fit, and place them into the jar. Try to pick out quotes that are special to you or pertain to a certain memory with the person who will receive the gift. Tie a colorful ribbon around the jar for a hint of decoration. This will be a wonderful gift to give to both friends and family. As they read the quotes throughout the year, they’ll be reminded of you.
6. iTunes gift card
While this may fall under the category of impersonal gifts, iTunes cards are a great gift for the people on your list who are hard to buy for. The cards can be purchased at varying prices depending on how much you’re willing to spend. Not only can music be bought with the card, but also movies, music videos, TV shows and audiobooks. It’s a surefire way to please even the most difficult to buy for person on your list.
7. Personalized gifts
Have you had professional pictures taken lately? Or maybe there is a family photo that you just love? Why not put those pictures on a mug, t-shirt or iPhone case? Websites like Snapfish and Shutterfly allow you to print your own personal pictures on several different items. One of the more popular selections on these websites is the option to create a photo book. Basically, this allows you to create a scrapbook without having to spend days or weeks making it. The prices are very reasonable, and the quality is great. This will be the perfect gift to commemorate a special event or chronicle a year in your life.
Is there a service you can offer that would be helpful to a family member or friend? Make them a small coupon book filled with different favors you can do for them. This could include anything from doing the dishes and washing the car to giving a foot massage or paying for dinner and a movie. The possibilities are endless depending on who the gift is for. Coupons are an easy and fun gift to give anyone on your list.
9. Jar recipe
Sometimes trying to bake dozens and dozens of cookies for your co-workers, boss or friends can become a tiresome and time-consuming task. Not to mention the fact that sometimes your oven likes to burn things. To avoid spending hours slaving over a hot oven, fill a jar with dry ingredients for a favorite cookie recipe or hot chocolate. Be sure to include a copy of the recipe tied with a ribbon around the jar. This gift is a great way to share recipes and serve a delicious treat without spending hours baking.
10. Sharpie mug
Mugs are great gifts for just about anyone, but finding the perfect one in a store can be difficult. The best way to give a personalized mug is to make one yourself. All you need is a plain white mug and a sharpie. Draw or write anything you like on the mug, bake it at 350 degrees and in 30 minutes, you’ll have a perfectly functional personalized mug. Some ideas for designs could be lyrics to a song, a personalized note, a quote or a drawing. This gift is an easy way to show off your crafty side while staying within budget.