I am privileged to wrap a lot of gifts. And I mean a lot of gifts. I get a unique insight into the wonderful world of gift giving … what is “hot”, what is functional, what is clever and certainly what is quirky!
So, it’s not unusual that I am asked about gifting trends. I am often asked what’s the big gift of the season but I am equally asked what is a “cheap” but thoughtful gift that can be given that esteems the recipient, celebrates this special time yet doesn’t break the bank. Now let me be clear, when I say “cheap” I do not mean cheap and nasty. Don’t bother with cheap and nasty – you’d be better off not giving anything at all and simply spending some quality time with the intended recipient. Boo to cheap and nasty.
No, I mean affordable gifts that the recipient will appreciate and which stay within a sensible budget. We all have different budgets and appetites for spending at Christmas but if you want some tips that won’t break the bank – read on!
But first some definitions – I love a good definition. I set the affordable threshold at $15.00. I don’t include homemade gifts – they are fabulous and wonderful and full of festive cheer and you should be making and giving if you have the time and the will. But homemade gifts are another beast all together – I feel another blog coming on. I include here only items that are bought new – again I am not diminishing the wonder of finding a thrift shop bargain – witness the pristine $1.00 Christiano Ronaldo DVD that I picked up for 0.50c or the mint condition Mt Rushmore photo frame that I found for $1.00 for my Mt Rushmore obsessed mother. I am focussed here on new gifts under $15.00.
To the tips cheap but fabulous….
Don’t buy anything that has a Christmas motive or has been made specially for Christmas. These tend to have a Christmas $$$ premium built in and they date very quickly. I have seen very few that meet my fabulousness threshold and even fewer that are any use when the reductions start to kick.
Go for gifts where it difficult for the recipient to immediately know the price. As much as I like Cadbury Roses Chocolates and cylindrical tins of wafers that are stacked high in the supermarket shelves this time of year, everyone tends to:
a. know the price
b. know it probably didn’t take much thought to purchase and
c. get sick of cheapish chocolate wafers or the Turkish delight chocolate that is left over because it is the only chocolate flavour people don’t really like.
Buy a gift that the recipient can either eat, grow or will be incredibly practical. Then wrap it in a way that adds value and looks a treat.
In the eat department, the supermarkets stock a super range of gourmet cordials which can used as a Christmas treat drink or a cocktail mixer. I am thinking lemon, lime and cucumber, pink grapefruit, pomegranate or even elderflower if you want to give a great gift to Meghan Markle who has a bit if a thing for elderflower. All around $8.99 or less!!!
Also, in the eat department are spices, gourmet basting mixes and rubs, beautiful and soothing teas, lovely quince paste to go on cheeseboards and even jams and preserves. I picked up a yum lemon butter and a generous jam for $5.00 and packs of designer teas for $2.50 each. Just wrap with twine.
In the grow department – I am thinking pots of herbs – three small pots of herbs become a pizza garden with all the herbs you need for a top-notch Margherita pizza. But I am also thinking packets of bulbs and seeds which can be kept until it’s time to plant. And don’t forget succulents and cacti which are a big designer trend at the moment. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are virtually impossible to kill.
I will finish the grow goodies with one of my bestest (and frankly very practical) finds – self watering pots. These used to be very expensive and frankly not very effective. But times have changed! I have trialled these latest release versions under the most extreme of conditions – i.e. the slackness of many husband and me – and they work – a marble look Decor self watering pot costs $4.00 and people will love it!
In the practical department – Think of things that we all use every day but rarely buy ourselves. Everyone could do with a great pair of scissors. One of my favourites are the Fullfolja Scissors from Ikea. At $4.99 they are both a steal and a stylists dream. You don’t have to brave the maze at Ikea because you can get them online. But there are other scissors our there for less than $15.00 that please the eye and cut what you need them too Just remember if the scissors don’t cut well they are of no practical use no matter what the price tag.
Most everybody cooks and most everybody – well me – manages to make a mess on the counter top when they put the spoon on the benchtop after stirring their culinary delights. So you I can recommend the Trudeau spoon clips that clips on the side of your saucepan. It gives you the feeling of being very organised and very clean. ?If only you got Justin with it. People love this little gizmo which is a definite step up on a spoon rest.
One of the most gratefully received gifts I give is a clothes shaver or depillar. Yes you read correctly! Not the highest on the glamour metre but very high on the effectiveness metre and it looks way more expensive than it is. I pick mine up for $13.00 and everyone is happy about the gift that gives all year. Closely aligned are sewing kits in a zip up wallet, organic botanical clothes stain removers and sachets of Australian native flowers to keep drawers and shoe cupboards smelling sweetly.
When Cheap Is Clever
Cheap certainly doesn’t have to mean nasty. In fact my friends and family are extra delighted when they weasel the price of their gifts out of me . Don’t spend more…spend clever and wrap the gift in a personal yet quirky way that won’t break the bank either!