The older I get, the less I like gifts. I’m to a point where if there is something I want and value, I’ll budget for it and buy it myself. I hate getting or giving things out of obligation, but there are times when you have people in your life that require a holiday gift. Teachers are saints, and I will always send some sort of gift for the people who spend 7 hours a day educating my daughter. There are also neighbors, work colleagues, and family members who might not rank high on the gift list, but you’d feel crappy if they got you something and you had nothing for them. Here are some cool, cheap gifts that work great for teachers and such.
I really don’t enjoy thinking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but it’s smart to start planning now. Make a list of who you need to buy for and how much you want to spend. That way, if you see a deal, you can jump on it instead of waiting until the last minute. I am determined to get all my shopping done this year before Thanksgiving so I won’t be tempted to go out on black Friday.
If you want to start right now, there is limited time offer going on where you can get a $15 Amazon gift card for buying select household products. We buy most of our household stuff from Amazon anyway, so this was a no brainer. I’ve actually done this deal twice and now have $30 in gift cards to use as gifts or to buy presents.
Netflix or Amazon Prime
Did you know that you can buy gift subscriptions for Netflix? We actually bought a whole year subscription on eBay for $55. You can also buy as little as a month at a time from the Netflix website. Amazon Prime would probably be a bit much to spend for an office buddy or teacher, but if you’re looking to spend in the $100 range, I can’t think of a better gift. I’m convinced that anyone who tries Netflix or Amazon Prime will want to cut cable, saving thousands of dollars and years of retirement!
Portable Cell Phone or Tablet Charger
I received one of these as a gift, and while my lovely husband
stole has tested it out several times, I can say it’s been a life saver. If you take long trips where you aren’t able to plug in, a portable charger is an excellent accessory. I love my kid, but I can only play I Spy so many times before I’m ready to turn on a movie.
Lunch Box AccessoriesWe pack lunch every day. Not buying lunch out is a wonderful way to save money, and it’s probably healthier unless you’re packing pork rinds and donuts. I used to use plastic bags for everything, but it felt wasteful and the cost of those add up over time as well. I’m sure some people wash out their ziplocks, but not me. Lunch box containers with a cold pack make a great gift. I also recommend a hot/cold thermos for people who don’t have easy access to a microwave. There will never be an excuse not to eat all the leftovers!
Homemade Salsa, Jam, or Honey
Jim has gotten zillions of homemade cookies and candies over the years from his students. While homemade goodies are excellent, getting 15 plates of them at once is not. Plus, we usually travel over the holidays, so all the baked goods get dropped off at my office on the way out of town. Why not give a homemade gift that can be saved and enjoyed after the holidays?
Even if you don’t can, preserve, or own a beehive, buying local goods is generally pretty cheap. Pick up two jars of homemade salsa and a bag of chips for under $10, and you have a tasty, cheap gift!
Regifting And Whatever Is On Sale
We ran across a sale a few weeks ago and stocked up on decent bottles of wine for $6.99 each. These will be perfect for anyone who gives us a gift we weren’t planning on. Since they won’t go bad, we can also use them for hostess or thank you gifts if we don’t need them over the holidays.
I don’t think regifting is tacky at all as long as the prior gift giver does not have contact with the present tense giftee. I do not like strong fragrances, so any smelly lotions, potions, or candles that we get go right into the recycled gift pile. We also seem to receive several large or XL t-shirts every year, even though we are not large in the EOTD household. Those also go into the stash.
Although it would probably never happen because I give excellent gifts, if I gave someone something they didn’t need or want, I’d be more than happy if they passed it along to someone else. After all, the world’s oldest fruitcake had to start somewhere.
Have you started planning for Christmas gifts? What do you do when people give you gifts you weren’t expecting?