Any X-mas Gift Ideas (esp...when you have a long list and short on cash)? - AuthenticForum
 
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:03 PM
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Any X-mas Gift Ideas (esp...when you have a long list and short on cash)?

I have so many people and things in my life to be thankful for that I feel X-mas is a time to celebrate this appreciation...only problem is that I have SO many people and so little funds to spread around. If anyone has any ideas, let's share!

Categories of people:

1. Family - Luckily, I've bought a few things for them that I meant to send throughout the year (since I live far away) that I'll be able to use as part of their gifts. Question though - is it tacky to give them something used? My aunt really loved one of my Louis Vuitton purses and I was thinking of giving it to her...not sure if that's tacky. I would probably add something to it...like lotion, but overall I wasn't sure if most people would think this is lame. I'm sure she wouldn't care, but I don't want her to think that I didn't put any effort into her gift.

Otherwise, I have a large family...getting "good" gifts for all of them is going to be exhaustive and impossible being I'm a student with no real income. I was thinking I would maybe get each one a personalized monogrammed towel....Neiman has them on sale by Ralph Lauren for 9.99 each. What do you guys think?

2. Friends - See, this is where it's tricky. Things were great years ago when my friends were students just like me, but now they've all moved on and have professional jobs. One of my best friends is being elusive, but I have a feeling she's going to buy me a coat that I've been eyeing that's currently $170. She can afford it - she's a pharmacist, but I can't in turn spend that much on her. I don't think she expects me too either, but it just makes me feel uncomfortable. I'm not sure what to get her in turn then. Currently, I'm the poorest of my friends. What's a girl to do? I want to give them something meaningful and personal...I just have no clue as to what...I can't bake, I can't cook, I can't sew...haha. The only thing I can do is perform really great pelvic and rectal exams...I'm not really seeing how I can flip this into a gift.

3. Significant Others - I am still on the fence on whether I have one or not, so this is premature at best. Most likely things will get diffused by Christmas time, but just in case...any ideas? If I do get him something it has to imply that I care and pay attention, but not to the point of indicating I obsessed over the perfect gift. Ahh, freakin' mind games.

4. Acquaintances/Neighbors/Bosses/Coworkers - and last but not least, this group. People you interact with and probably should give a present to, but don't really know all that well. I'm particularly thinking of my upstairs neighbor who is a 30 something y/o woman with 4 kids. She's sweet and has helped me out (particularly with getting my mail and packages). Last year my old roomie and I just split the bill and got the kids a little something (candy and little toys). Not sure if my new roomie would be in for it this time.

Anyway, if anyone has ANY gift ideas I'll take them. I'm so clueless right now. Plus, I just don't have all that much time to shop and be creative. So, in summary - affordable, quick, and meaningful presents are ideal. Ah, God...I'm asking for a miracle.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:12 PM
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Well, one thing you cannot do is overextend yourself for something like gifts for other people. If you cannot buy you cannot buy and people should understand that.

You could make things to give as gifts as well. A friend of mine is making candy and homemade gifts to give.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:14 PM
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i don't know if this will help, but i splurged so much on my family's birthday gifts this year, i needed to reel myself in a bit for Christmas. So i sent out an email telling them to reserve a certain time and day for when i would do something special for them as a present and made an appointment at a photo studio to take new family portraits. we haven't taken them as a family since my siblings and i were kids, so my parents (especially my mom) LOVED it! my brothers appreciated the gesture and everybody will get a few nicely framed portraits

the studio was running a special, so the total cost came to about $115. for the 6 people in my family, that's less than $20/person!
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:21 PM
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^ I LOVE this idea. A family portrait! Excellent. What studio did you go to that cost only $115 if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:24 PM
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Thanks Nicole - you're right. I tend to over think these things and stress more than I probably should.

I wish gift giving would be a thing to do AFTER Christmas. Some Catholics I know give gifts on 3 King's Day...sometime after New Year's (I think). This would awesome. Unfortunately, my family is very traditional and wouldn't go for that.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:27 PM
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I am having the same problem and it made me think about when I was little....

My Grandma used to have me make gifts for everyone in my family. I would do gift baskets with things such as the person's favorite lotion, soaps, bath wash, perfume, candles, tea, wash cloths, etc. For the men it was harder because "gift baskets" are more girly so I would do like some after shave, a new razor, and a gift card for sears, or some store that they liked. Sometimes I would also make cookies and put them in a pretty tin and make Christmas cards. I also think that your idea about giving your purse to your Aunt is awesome because you know she likes it and who cares if it's used? It's always the thought that counts!

For friends make a Christmas card and get them a 5$ gift card to Starbucks, or somewhere. You can't go wrong because I think everyone is going to understand especially these days. The best thing of all that would work is pictures. Get some professional pictures of yourself/family/kids or whatever and then put them in a frame and there you go. That's what my family is getting for Christmas. Another idea is hand made scarfs, potholders, table cloths, placemats, etc. If crotchet then that would be easy and thoughtful and pretty.

Well that is all I can think of right now. I hope some of this helps!
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:32 PM
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oh for the neighbor lady upstairs with kids, ask what kind of pie they like or some kind of dish and bring it to them on Christmas Eve with Christmas cards with candy canes in them. I am sure that they will appreciate anything and especially the fact that you thought of them.

I was also going to say if you have second hand stores around you a lot of people donate this time of year because they want to help people so take a look in some and you might find brand new stuff with tags on it or things in good condition that would make good gifts. I wasn't a believer of second hand and I walked into one store and found a BRAND NEW pair of joes jeans my sister in law's size and they were 100% Authentic. Perfect present! Give it a try!
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:20 AM
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^ I LOVE this idea. A family portrait! Excellent. What studio did you go to that cost only $115 if you don't mind me asking?
glad i could be of some help! i went to The Picture People. they're a national chain and our photographer did a really good job, so maybe you can find one near you! if you go online, they even have an offer on the main page (the one i used) that was one Free portrait (10x13 or 8x10) plus 20% off the rest of the order.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:46 AM
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I only give gifts to my immediate family and a significant other during Christmas. I give friends and other family (cousins, aunts, etc) extravagant birthday gifts so they don't expect. Christmas, to me is all about the family.

I think with the way the economy is and with the fact that you're in med school, they wouldn't expect you to give too much.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:08 AM
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For the kids, my bf has three nieces and for Christmas last year I got the stocking stuffers at Dollar Tree..puzzles, coloring books, etc. and you can get a nice bundle of stuff for cheap.
When it comes to coworkers and people I don't know very well, I don't bother giving them gifts and I don't think you should feel obliged to gift everyone.
Your friends should understand your situation and be happy with whatever you choose to get them (I like to make coupons sometimes for a free meal, free movie of their choice, etc.)
I don't know about the one towel idea, as people usually like putting out towels as a set. It is really hard to find something in the $10 range that you know people would like/need.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:35 AM
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With my friends, we just do a Secret Santa. We used to draw names and use Elfster.com to ask questions, or give a wish list. Now we spend a flat amount for something that everyone will like, and do a Stealing Secret Santa. It's not a big amount, but enough that you don't get stuck getting junky gifts.

How it works is that we draw a number to figure out who picks a present from the pile first. #1 picks a present and opens it, #2 then has an option to steal #1's gift or pick an unopened one. If #2 steals #1's gift, then #1 can pick a new gift. And so on.
Each gift can only be stolen for a maximum of three times, and you can't "steal back" from the person who just stole from you. It's a lot of fun! Sometimes you can have gag gifts, but I'd rather receive something that I'd like.

We also contribute money toward a charity pot and someone "wins" the pot (usually about $200) to donate to the charity of their choice.

It's just a really great evening together with close friends, and not so much about the gift, but more about the company (and food and wine).


You definitely do not need to spend a lot to show that you appreciate someone. Just make a date, spend some time doing something that you both enjoy or make special time to talk (i.e. go for mani/pedis together).
Or do lots of baked goodies, package them nicely in cellophane bags and ribbon that you can get at the dollar store, and present them in-person with a nice chat.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:35 AM
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Bake stuff

For the last group of people you mentioned, just a plain card with a nice note written in it is good.

Used gifts are fine if that person doesn't mind used items and if they know it is used. I personally don't mind getting used gifts as long as they tell me its used, don't try to pass it off as new....

Our girlfriends this year decided instead of buying gifts for each other that we are all going out one night together, supper and drinks. You could suggest that to your girlfriends as well
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:39 AM
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^I like that idea. I have too much family to buy for (plus a psuedo-significant other) to get anything for my friends this year.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:08 PM
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Everyone has given lots of nice ideas already.

One thing I like to do is buy extra special gourmet jams/chutneys/other food items. Not many people would spend say $10 on a pot of chutney so they wouldnt get this for themself - but $10 is a nice amount for a small gift i think

Also have you heard of oxfam unwrapped - you can buy things like a pair of chickens for a family in papua new guinea!
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:14 PM
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Sorry, but I would HATE to get a monogrammed towel for Christmas

I'd bake or make something. Its never too late to learn how to sew

Personally, I don't give gifts unless I know I've found something the person will love and use and I don't expect anything back. I get really annoyed when someone feels obligated and just gives me a lotion set or candles or something. I'd rather have them save the money. I guess I'm just lazy with gifts...the only person I "have to" buy anything for is my boyfriend
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:31 PM
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There's nothing like bailing someone out of jail to spread the holiday cheer.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:32 PM
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MmM who have you done that for lately, Shelley?
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:41 PM
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I usually only buy stuff for my kids on Christmas. Although I love giving, I think it is ridiclous that we are 'forced' to buy stuff for people this time of year. If I happen to see a specific item that I know would be loved/appreciated/needed by someone who is close to me, I will get it. But I do that year round. Not just because it is Christmas time.

Maybe I have very different views from others. But I think it is silly to buy something for someone, just because society says it's the time of year to do so.



Edit to add: I posted this before I read when you wrote Emily. I just realized that I pretty much said the same thing as you.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoang0705 View Post
I only give gifts to my immediate family and a significant other during Christmas. I give friends and other family (cousins, aunts, etc) extravagant birthday gifts so they don't expect. Christmas, to me is all about the family.
i also only buy for my immediate family and my best friend of 10 years. all of my friends get nice birthday presents.

this time of year isn't about giving "stuff". but if push comes to shove...give a book. something that has meaning for you and/or for them. or how about mix cds for your friends - something personalized where the music tells a story about how you feel about your friendship with them?

for your neighbor who is so helpful to you, why don't you offer her free babysitting sometime for her 4 kids? then she can run errands or go see a movie with a girlfriend. i think that would be nice for her.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:24 PM
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I'm being absurdly lame and making all my gifts this year. I basically asked everyone in my immediate family what they wanted me to make (bowl, vase, mugs, etc), and that's what they'll get!

It's really pretty cheap for me too:
1 bag of clay = $15
and depending on how hard I actually focus and try to finish stuff I can make:
4 mugs per bag
2.5 bowls per bag (depending on size)
2 vases per bag

So I'll probably go through about 3 bags or so. *shrugs*

Although I did buy my sister a Benefit gift thing with my $15 off $35 gc from Sephora.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:56 PM
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Fuzzy socks or scarves.
I give those gifts to people EVERY year! They don't seem to mind, and they're cheap
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:03 PM
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I usually only buy stuff for my kids on Christmas. Although I love giving, I think it is ridiclous that we are 'forced' to buy stuff for people this time of year. If I happen to see a specific item that I know would be loved/appreciated/needed by someone who is close to me, I will get it. But I do that year round. Not just because it is Christmas time.

Maybe I have very different views from others. But I think it is silly to buy something for someone, just because society says it's the time of year to do so.
My husband is the exact same way Amber. This year we're not exchanging gifts with each other or his family because we buy each other things all through the year. His brother and wife are expecting though, so there will be gifts for our niece. The only thing we try to do is stockings, since those are just a collection of little things like chocolates, bath stuff (that we actually use daily), and that kind of thing.

For the OP - for the special people that I can't really afford to buy gifts for, I make handmade cards. They take time and effort and are really appreciated, especially when you add a personal note, and maybe some candy or baked goods to go with it.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:14 PM
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Another option, if you don't cook, is to find a great cookie recipe and buy all the ingredients and layer them in pretty glass jars or canisters, tie it up with fancy ribbon and attach a cookie cutter to it. I did this one year, and it's inexpensive, because you're buying all the ingredients in bulk, but it shows that you took the time to do something for the person receiving the gift. Oh, and don't forget to include the cookie recipe too...you can write them on recipe cards that way whenever they make the cookies they'll think of you
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:23 PM
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^ I really like that idea!
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowhite View Post
The only thing I can do is perform really great pelvic and rectal exams...I'm not really seeing how I can flip this into a gift.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shelley View Post
There's nothing like bailing someone out of jail to spread the holiday cheer.
ok...I loled

What I like to do for general purpose gift giving (xmas, birthdays, etc) is just find some inexpensive but pretty picture frames and print really nice, high res photos that include the person in question and that they'd enjoy displaying (so maybe the pic of you shaming them on the couch wouldn't work...), then frame them. I did this for grad gifts in high school and spent hardly any money, and everyone loved it (especially since they were all going off to college where we wouldn't see each other much)
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