Cheap gifts for the holidays

December 14, 2009 at 10:04 am | Posted in Dating Tips | 3 Comments
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Tis the season for economizing. He’s broke, she’s broke, but you’re still expected to have something wrapped and under the tree, no two ways about it.

And don’t believe anyone who says a kiss and a hug is the best way to go.

The secret to giving a less-expensive gift to your loved ones–and getting away with it–is to do something creative, put some elbow grease into it, or go straight for the heartstrings and tug hard.

Here are a few ideas to get you started (also doubles as my Christmas wish list):

5) Knit a scarf. Scarfs are huge this year. Huge! While it’s a safe perennial Christmas gift, before you run off to find out what’s still left at Old Navy, consider making one yourself. It’s cheap, practical, and unlikely to get regifted because it came from your hands. I gave a friend a scarf five years ago for Christmas and she still wears it. And if you’re a guy, it’s truly a gift that will keep on giving because she will tell everyone that you made it for her. And yes, you can learn to knit and make a scarf in two weeks. You can learn and make one in one day.

4) A touched up, framed, black and white photo of her family, her favorite movie icon, or the two of you. This is actually on my list of things to do for myself: find a black and white photo of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg online, have it blown up, framed, and hung on my wall. But wouldn’t it be sweet if my boyfriend did it for me? Chances are your SO feels that way about Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, or Tenacious D.

3) A book. Nothing says, ‘I couldn’t think of anything else to give’ you quite like a book — unless that book is out of print, hard to find, and only available by special order. If you know who someone’s favorite author is, compile a collection of their works, find a signed copy of something, or bid on something of theirs on eBay. It seems all writers are hawking their wares on eBay these days.

2) A photo album. With cameras in our computers and phones, not to mention the digital ones that are pocket sized and practically disposable, how is it that I have no photos? Take some time to pick out the best photos of the past year, send them to Ritz Camera or Snapfish, and put them together in an album. A real, physical photo album. Remember those? Not only will you be a huge sweetie, you’ll be saving the day when his or her computer crashes without a back up of the photo library.

1) Roller skates. No, not rollerblades–which are so 1990– but old-school rollerskates. It’s not only trendy, fun, and great exercise, it says ‘I’m not afraid to look like a dork with you.’ That’s love.



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  1. I’m a big fan of giving meaningful books to the people I care about.

    • Agreed, books can be hugely sentimental, but how do you figure out which books are meaningful?

  2. I bought a book for a friend this year. It’s the graphic novel adaptation of Coraline, a movie we saw together earlier. I still have the ticket stub and plan to tape it inside the front cover 🙂

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