smart spending

Gift-giving etiquette tips for the holidays

Homemade from the heart
Homemade from the heart

Thomas and Mitchell agree that because of the economy, there will be more homemade gifts handed out this season. Homemade Christmas cookies are always a winner. Really, anything handcrafted goes over extremely well because it tells the person the gift-giver took extra time to make it.

If you are not crafty, she says gift cards of nominal amounts that can be redeemed at several restaurants or stores are a big hit. Also, writing personalized notes in the greeting cards is a way to tell someone how important they have been to you during the year.

Alternative gifts are also catching on, Mitchell says. More people are giving donations in lieu of presents. The donation can even be tailor made to a cause or charity close to the receiver's heart. "We have so much," Mitchell says. "Money can be given to a food bank and helping people instead of buying another tchotchke."

However, Thomas suggests staying away from the fruitcake. "I have rarely seen a person come to me and say, 'I really loved the fruitcake,'" she says.

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