gifts for not so much money
Neither threats of rising inflation nor constricting
credit woes can dampen the holiday spirit, but they can tighten the
budgets of even the most enthusiastic gift-givers.
You don't have to take a "bah humbug" attitude
if you're feeling a financial pinch or even just want to simplify
your celebrations. Frugal holidays can still be filled with beautiful,
thoughtful sentiments that will warm the cold winter months.
Choosing the right gift
Gifts can be inexpensive without being cheap. Cheap is slapping
some wrapping paper around a container of travel-sized soaps and
lotions pilfered from hotels, and considering the obligation fulfilled;
inexpensive is considering the tastes and personality of the recipients
and finding something appropriate that happens to not cost very
"It doesn't have to cost a lot of money
for it to be a thoughtful present, in fact, some of the most thoughtful presents
don't cost anything at all," says Sherri Athay, gift consultant and author of
||Frugal but highly respectable gifts:
Accessorizing your present can be an inexpensive and
interesting way to add some pizzazz. For instance, when giving to
a cook, you could get a nice mortar and pestle and include some
herbs or fancy peppercorns. Or for the bird-watcher in your life,
you could present them with a new birdhouse from a craft store,
hand-paint it yourself and include a disposable camera to snap photos
of their new avian friends.
Looks matter. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear but
you can dress up something modest such as a scented candle and bath
"Anytime you can embellish it or do some creative packaging,
it enhances the gift. A lot of it just has to do with the presentation
and passing along the sentiment that goes along with the gift,"
says Athay. This can require some ingenuity. Whether you choose
to do something as simple as buying a pretty bag and stuffing in
some tissue paper or going all out and covering a cardboard box
with paper and decorations; anything from beads to ribbons or pictures,
the effort can make a big difference.
It's the thought that counts -- as long as the thought being broadcast
is not, "I have nothing but contempt for you so here's a crappy
gift someone gave me two years ago." Since the term was coined in
the "Label Maker" episode of "Seinfeld" that originally aired Jan.19,
1995, according to The Internet Movie Database or IMDb.com, there's
been a lot written about the practice of regifting. Needless to
say, regifting has been widely accepted as the phrase has worked
its way into the lexicon.
"I think that if you're passing along a present
that somebody will enjoy and it meets all the criteria that you would use when
buying a new present for them; then, by all means, pass it along," says Athay.
"As long as it's perfect for the person you're giving it to, it's fine."