It’s often difficult to know what to get someone for the yearly gift exchange. Whether it’s a family or work situation, some people are just hard to buy for. Alternatively, some people are easy to buy for – it’s just hard to stay within the price limit. With a little shopping savvy and an open mind, you can find a gift for anyone - no matter the price point.
Keeping the holidays on your radar all year will pay off. If you see a great deal on something you don’t need yourself, but would make a wonderful gift, don’t pass on the opportunity. I have a holiday gift exchange present sitting in a cabinet right now that I found on clearance four months ago.
If you feel like you’re shopping in the dark, do a little intelligence work. If the name you draw for the company Secret Santa exchange is someone you don’t work with closely, cruise by that person’s desk a few times for clues as to what they’re into, or ask a mutual work friend. The same goes for a cousin you haven’t seen in a while – ask a closer relative what might go over well.
Great ideas under $10
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With a budget this low, think simple. The Simple Dollar has a great list of ideas that follow one handy rule: buy things you’d be happy to unwrap yourself. Coworker-friendly ideas include classic card and board games, fancy teas and craft beers, conversation-starting books, and packets of rare seeds for those with a green thumb.
Great ideas under $20
With an additional few dollars to spend, you can get more personal and encourage someone to pamper themselves or dive deeper into a hobby. A set of high-end drawing pencils or a professional-grade calligraphy pen will inspire crafty recipients. Someone who’s just establishing their own household might love a set of coasters made from vintage records. A teenage girl will appreciate her first real set of makeup brushes, and a budding athlete doesn’t even know how much he needs workout earbuds.
Great ideas under $30
Now we’re looking at some serious money! For around $25, you can wrap up a little luxury for someone. Whether they’re into cooking, scrapbooking, Star Wars or dressing sharp, take the chance to buy them something they wouldn’t ordinarily splurge on for themselves, like high-end extract for lemon cookies, an online class or Chewbacca slippers.
I also look for gifts that have additional meaning such as Bombas socks, which are high-quality socks that most anyone would love. Each time a pair is bought, the company also donates a pair to the homeless. The greatest gift you can give a devoted nature lover is a donation to a wildlife rescue. Think in terms of meaning rather than in terms of material value.
The key to giving a great gift, even when there’s no spending limit, is to step outside yourself long enough to imagine what that person would really appreciate. Then, look at your options and ask yourself which gift you’d also be thrilled to receive.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.