with each passing year - especially for those dreaded "Secret Santa" swaps still popular at the office...
Well, not this year! I've done the research and found some terrific ideas for gift-giving that are both easier on the wallet, and unique enough to please even those who literally have everything.
At the office
Everyone loves a unique tree ornament, and when it comes to ornaments, even elegance can be found for your dollar limit.
If you have an office full of colleagues with pets, make pets the gift recipients: lots of pet items fit any gift swap budget.
Instead of buying a material gift, make a donation to a charity your recipient would support. For instance, if s/he is an animal lover, donate to the ASPCA.
Wrap up the biggest eye-sore you can find (sad-eyed ceramic cat, anyone?), or buy a ready-made gag gift. It then becomes each person’s responsibility to pass it along, like a hot potato, the next year.
This involves “stealing” from each other - how much fun is that?! Here's how it works: Everyone contributes a wrapped gift, then, one by one, each participant draws a number out of a hat. No. 1 chooses and unwraps a gift, showing it to everyone else. No. 2 gets to either “steal” that present or pick and unwrap another one from the pile. Any player whose gift is stolen gets to pick again. It goes on like that until everyone has a gift.
Instead of buying gifts for one another, sponsor a less fortunate family. You can find a family in need through many local charities like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or your local homeless program, and the charity will give you a list of items to shop from.
Instead of buying for each family member separately, buy one gift for an item the family would use together, like a theme park pass, movie, zoo or aquarium tickets, you get the idea. This is a great way to save a bit of dough (it's less costly than individual gifts) while really wow-ing the recipients.
Whether buying for other people's children, or anyone on your list, give them something to look forward to each holiday season by starting an ornament collection for them, a gift to open and enjoy year after year.
by giving gifts people can use immediately, like food baskets, flavored popcorn, teas/coffees, cheeses, flavored salts, spices, etc.
Home or Office
...make fun and inexpensive stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts, or any other small amount giving you do.
Whether for someone's favorite store or generic as in one from any of the credit card companies, you just can't go wrong with this one.