Great Gifts on a Budget

The art of gift giving is certainly something to be admired.  I know we’ve all been there.  We try to brainstorm ideas for the perfect gift.  You venture out several times in search of something that cries out their name and you end up buying something for yourself.  Eventually, Christmas Eve rolls around and you find yourself in Target along with everyone and their screaming kids clamoring for the last prepackaged, gender-specific gift set.  You didn’t really want to get them a golf-themed dock kit or a set of holiday flavored lip glosses but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?  While I agree with this sentiment, I also agree that you don’t have to surrender to the lure of big box, decision-free gift sets.  Sometimes the best gifts, while last-minute, can be just as meaningful and affordable.  Here’s a list of gift ideas we’ll totally let you sneak a peek at. 

1.  Gift Certificates.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had to defend gift certificates.  They have gained the reputation of a “thoughtless” gift.  However, think about the enormous benefits that the receiver reaps.  They get to get exactly what they want.  Also, if they’re anything like us, they love shopping.  I will go to my grave defending (and hopefully, receiving) gift certificates.  P.S. You can purchase a Gabby B’s gift certificate in any amount. 

2. Mix CD.  One year, in lieu of Christmas cards, my rents sent out their personal mix of Christmas songs.  It was a great little hello and gift wrapped into one.  And it cost next to nothing!  Plus, my mom was able to slap some Santa hats on our rabbits and covered each disc in their adorable picture.  Who wouldn’t want to jam out to something with this on the cover?

3. Baked Goods.  I don’t care if you’re a total Scrooge.  Name me even the coldest of misers who doesn’t love to eat sweets around the holidays?  I rest my case.

4. Thrift Store Finds/Vintage Goodies.  Save some cash and find a unique gift.  Every time I purge my closet of out-of-circulation clothing, my vintage finds stay.  No questions.

5. Write/Perform Something.  Okay, hear me out.  You can totally have fun with it or get super, deep serious into it.  I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum and have to say both are pretty awesome.  My dad has a way with words and some of my most treasured possessions are things he’s written me.  In the vein of performance, I once dedicated a dance to someone.  It meant a lot to them and how many people can say they have had a dance performed in their name?  Even though they are not tangible, they often have just as much, if not more, weight. 

6. Cafepress.com.  I got hooked after I ordered a totally cool political tee.  It’s cheap, easy, and you can print anything under the sun.  Can’t find anything for that Twilight or Mad Men freak?  Guess again.   You can even upload your own design/photo for a completely customized present.    Inside joke paradise.

7. Pomanders.  When I was about eight, I remember my mom sitting me down and handing me a jar of cloves and a couple oranges.  About an hour later, we were laughing, drinking cider, and I had a finished pomander to stick in my closet.  A bit of history, pomanders were typically used to mask odors from the Middle Ages through the 18 century.  Now, they’re just awesome ways to decorate and deliciously smellify a room.

8. Photo-magraphs.  It may seem trite, but nothing is more sentimental than framed pictures.  Best advice:  stick to simple, classic picture frames.  Check out local photographers who won’t cost you an arm and a leg.  We’re lucky enough to have ours right here in the San Antonio store.  For more info, check out www.kimberlybrimhall.com. She’s more or less AWESOME.

9. Take a Field Trip.  You don’t have to spend anything other than your time.  Get creative.  In middle school, my rents took my best friend, Katie and I on a tour of neighborhood Christmas lights.  We took the convertible for a modern sleigh ride.  They outfitted us with blankets, hot cocoa, and old school holiday tunes.  If you live in the Hill Country, check out Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels.  It’s $20 per car, but you can get your money’s worth if you pile everyone in!  For more info, visit www.santasranch.net.  And the lights are just amazing…

Even with this lengthy list in hand, you may still be at a loss.  And that’s okay.  I know it is trite, but it’s not about gift giving.  Forget the workload, the bills, the presents, and the drama of it all.  Relish in the holiday, the people, the warmth and the laughter.  Because when all is said and done, those are the things we remember next year, and the year after that, for many to come. 

Happy Holidays.

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