12.23.2008

Last Minute Gift Ideas

[Edited because I used the word "thought" way too many times.]

I never thought I'd place myself in this position, but I haven't completely finished my gift shopping yet. That's what happens when I have to hunt down the bacon, drag it home, and fry it too. I'll be out the door soon to complete my mission.

There are plenty of heavy discounts in the retail sector as the stores try to court last minute shoppers, especially the stores slated to get the ax. The discounted items can be fairly eclectic, and I really like the idea of putting gift sets together--instead of spending money on just one thing, which may look dinky, the same amount of dollars can be stretched into something more. I am not kidding about this--this year, $40 got me a nice combination of things for 10 or 11 different people, which is a fraction of people I got gifts for, but every bit of savings helps. On top of that, a good amount of non-perishable deals can be kept for other gifting occasions later in the year.

-Fragrant candles with shiny caps look way more expensive than they are. Sometime last year, I picked some up for $3-$5. In fact, they look great enough that I am completely comfortable with giving just that one thing as a gift.

-Bath and body products are always useful, and they can easily be paired with other things for a themed set, like towels and candles and slippers for a luxe spa set.

-Some may say that gift cards show a lack of thought, but I've always been an advocate of them--the recipient can get whatever he or she wants. However, the downside is that the person will know just how much you've spent. It shouldn't matter, but in reality, sometimes it does to some people or their family members, especially when everyone are at the same gathering. I usually get around that dilemma by pairing it with something inexpensive but complementary, like popcorn and candy with a movie gift card.

-CDs and DVDs require some understanding of the recipient's tastes, but I think it would work out just fine even if there isn't enough time to do homework. Since it's free for the recipient, he or she can experience something that he or she wouldn't have picked out for his- or herself. Who knows? You just might open that person's eyes to something new and exciting.

-Make-your-own gift baskets much less expensive than the pre-packed variety. It also shows that you've given it some consideration and effort. This is probably the ultimate last-minute gift--places like CVS and Walgreen's are typically open even on the holidays, so you can literally wait until the 11th hour (though I'd advise against it) and still be hailed as that sweet and caring person you really are, but just didn't have time to express.

-Mani/pedi set. You can get a set of $1 nail polish of all different colors, and maybe throw in a nail file and some foot cream. Yet another last-last minute gift that can be put together by heading to your local 24-hour drugstore.

-Lastly, something as simple as a thoughtful handwritten note or a handmade work of art can mean more than any gift on the market. A jar of origami cranes or stars is colorful and very affordable. Once I made a bunch of origami cranes, in fairly large sizes, and used them as cards on which I wrote my thanks to each individual recipient; it was very well received and proudly displayed by the recipients, even by those I did not expect to find it moving. At the end of the day, even the ol' cynical me truly believe that it's the thought that counts.

Happy Holidays, everyone. I hope you will enjoy this season wherever you are and with whomever you keep company.

4 comments:

Stacie said...

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful new year!!!
Good job on the last minute gift ideas. We went shopping today and found things weren't really on sale and were extremely picked over. The stores were pretty darn crowded and everyone was either talking on a cell phone or texting while walking around. I was just about done but shouldn't have put those last few things off for so long because I couldn't find all that I was looking for. Oh well. People will get what they get!
Happy holidays!

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks, Stacie! Happy Holidays to you too.

The mall was insane when the stores closed, since everyone were leaving at once. I've hit 2 malls today and still didn't complete my shopping, though I made some progress. I guess the unaccounted for person is getting cash this year, which is probably the best gift given the totality of the circumstances.

ambika said...

This is a great list & resembles my go-tos when I'm at a loss or a bit too overwhelmed to really hunt for gifts. & given that I've never minded receiving gift cards, I don't get why there's such a brouhaha about giving them. Seriously.

Merry Christmas!

AMIT said...

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