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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #71: Cheap and Easy Gifts

Thirteen Things about Cheap and Easy gifts

We all know I've been ranting on the commercialism of the holiday. So, because I hate people who do nothing but complain, I thought I'd spend this week sharing a few good solutions: cheap and easy Christmas gift ideas!

1. Babysitting. Do you know a couple who's got kids? Give them a coupon for a free night of babysitting. Childcare is expensive, and as a parent who'd love a little more quality time with the hubby, that would be such a meaningful gift.

2. Give a goat! Do you know someone who has it all? Maybe the most touching gift you can give is one that helps others. This is what I'm thinking of giving hubby, since I know it's something he's passionate about, and yet I know it's something that will give more than just him joy. And since I know he reads my blog (but isn't a present peeker), You'll have to click on the link to find out what it is. Anyway, even though these gifts aren't necessarily inexpensive for us to give, they sure do help out others while reducing the clutter and junk in our homes.

3. Housecleaning. Okay, I admit this is one I'd love, too. There are a lot of folks who live busy lives and would like to get stuff done like wash the baseboards or clean the carpets, but they don't have time. Why not offer a helping hand? One of my girlfriends used to do this for me every few months, and it meant the world to me. She'd say, "which chore are you dreading the most?" and then come over and just do it.

4. Homemade meals. Depending on what you make, it may or may not be expensive. But a friend just emailed me about how someone had brought over homemade chicken noodle soup and what it meant to her. You think, in this busy season, you might know someone who could use a night off from cooking?

5. Special notes/pictures from the kids. For Thanksgiving, my 8 year old spent hours making individual place cards for all of our guests. I can't tell you how touched they were.

6. Time. My friend couldn't figure out what to get his mom, and he'll be gone for Christmas, so he asked me if I would spend a day with his mom shopping. She loves to shop, loves spending time with me, so he asked if I'd take her shopping (with his money, of course!). The point he made was that she's lonely and this would mean more to her than anything he could give. How many people, particularly elderly folks, out there, would just love a nice afternoon of spending time together?

7. Knitting. Okay, I admit not everyone can do this. This year, for a Christmas party I went to, I decided to knit a gift for my secret santa person. I was really touched at how touched she was by my gift. My friend Camy is knitting me a sweater, and I know it's going to be something I'll treasure. That said, keep the recipient in mind. We've all seen TV shows where Great Aunt Edna knit some hideous sweater the person is stuck with forever. So use discretion. :)

8. Cookies/Quick Breads/Goodies: My favorite part of Christmas is grandma's cookie baskets. YUM! A lot of folks don't have time to bake any more, and there's a whole lot of flavor missing from the stuff you get at the store. Plus, since it's a consumable, it won't be junk laying around the other person's house. (But, as you may recall from my last TT, leave the fruitcake out!)

9. Speaking of grandma's gifts, my grandma gives strange gifts that have taken me years to appreciate. She makes care packages of toiletries and other household consumables she picks up on sale throughout the year. Doesn't sound very cool, but you know, it's so nice to have a stock of things like toothpaste, hand soap, etc. Plus, I always use it up, so it's not cluttering my house.

10. Scrapbooks/Picture collages: I'm a wannabe scrapper. I used to spend tons of money on all kinds of scrapbooking supplies that sit unused in my office. It wouldn't take a whole lot of time to put together a small book of pictures of the kids or photos that would be meaningful to that person. For my BIL, we're framing an article about a stamp and the stamp that goes with it. He's a stamp collector, so for the price of a frame and a stamp, we're giving him a gift he'll love.

11. Don't forget good, reused items. And I'm not just talking regifting here. There are tons of Goodwill stores, used children's clothing and junk stores, etc where you can find inexpensive gifts. 50% of the toys we're giving our kids this year came from our local MOPS sale. They won't know the difference if you don't tell them there is one.

12. Stories. I know a few writers visit my blog, so here's a thought: why not write a story for someone? I tell my kiddos a series of stories called The Giggler and The Sucker. I've never written them down, but I keep thinking it would be something they'd really treasure. They're always begging me for a Giggler and Sucker story.

13. Insert your idea here! If you have a good, inexpensive but meaningful gift, post it in the comments section.

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Anonymous said...

I don't know about the goat, but there was a time when free babysitting would have been the best possible gift.

Eaton Bennett aka Berenice Albrecht said...

Oh a baby sitter who doesn't complain about having to do it...heaven!

#6 and #12 are lovely ideas. Great TT! :)

sobeit said...

I had no idea what to get my co-worker. So, I am crocheting a pillow. I love giving home made gifts!


Mia Celeste said...

Lots of great ideas. I think it would be wonderful to get housecleaning or babysitting as a gift. Happy TT!

Anonymous said...

I am SO stealing the babysitting idea!!! Great list :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, cool list! I really enjoy making Christmas gifts, particularly baked goods, (I really like baking!) I also like receiving them, if you get me candy, or make me cookies, I will definitely eat them! I did a TT too, it's here: http://lifes-adventures.net


Rhonda L. Jones said...

Wow, these are awesome suggestions! I especially like the one about giving your time, esp to someone elderly.

The Bumbles said...

I LOVE the writing a story idea. That would be really fun to so for some of our nieces and nephews. Maybe I'll collect some of their drawings and use their own work as inspiration and illustrations - a little late to do now for X-Mas but something fun for birthdays, etc. Thanks! Our T13 is here - another easy gift and it can cost as much or as little as you want...

Jan Parrish said...

I think the goat idea is good but I wondered how they would feed it. I love your soccer ball idea. Great stocking stuffer.

I also love the gift of time. Especially important for the elderly.