“Is your house on fire, Clark?” “No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.” ~National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Christmas is just around the corner and it can seem like the list of people you have to buy gifts for grows by the second this time of year. But providing unique and memorable presents this year doesn’t have to put you in the poor house. Try some of these thrifty gift ideas for almost everyone.
Goody Bags: These can be filled with post-its, pens, colored paperclips, and other cute office supplies for your child’s teachers or your co-workers if you work in an office building. Bags containing a mini nail file, some cotton balls, and a pint-sized nail polish (try bon bon brand) create an instant manicure kit for your girlfriends. For the fellas, put together a “Fix-all” kit including some duct tape (Duck Brand even makes collegiate sports versions), a little tube of superglue, and some cable ties to use around the house.
Certificates: Sometimes people could use a break from the monotonous chores of their household, so offer your babysitting, lawn care, or shopping services to a busy friend who could use it. Create a certificate for them to “cash” in whenever they need it most.
Experiences: Instead of swapping presents with your close friends and family, create one-of-a-kind memories by coming up with a group experience you’ll all remember much longer than a new iPod cover or fancy jewelry.
Here are few of my favorite ideas (Make sure to take lots of pictures):
- Christmas Cookie Decorating Contest
- Tackiest Christmas sweater Contest
- Favorite Christmas Movie night: Everyone dresses in their warmest PJs and spends time together being nostalgic and laughing over the memories these movies evoke. (Some of my faves include How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, and It’s a Wonderful Life.)
- Christmas caroling in your neighborhood: This experience is not for the faint of heart, but if you have some cut-ups in your family, they will love this.
- Homemade Christmas Card Party: Start a new tradition the beginning of December and gather the family around to create special cards for out of town family members.
- Christmas Dance Party: Break out some hot cocoa and your dancing shoes and host a dance ’til you drop party featuring your favorite Christmas jams. This is fun for kids and adults alike and you can even create a homemade trophy made from tinsel and candy canes (the tackier the better) for the person with the best moves or the person who dances the longest without a cocoa break.