16 December 2009

Last Minute Gift Ideas

I’ve never been one to leave my Christmas shopping to the last minute, I like to be able to take my time searching for the perfect gift for everyone, even if it does take me the whole year. But statistics show that for all the talking about starting early, most of us don't. We wait until the very last minute and then hit the shops in a frantic rush.

So, if you are one of the many who wait until the very last minute to hit the shopping centres, you’re probably headed for some aggravation and disappointment and possibly some big bills in January (OK, it's almost a surety that there will be some big bills in January).

Use some of my tips for last-minute Christmas shopping and it will be much more pleasurable, possibly a lot cheaper and the recipients of your gifts will probably pretty happy too.

Gift cards. It seems like such a small present, but it is quite a popular gift. Do you know how many people pack the stores the day after Christmas just to return gifted items? A gift card avoids all of that. Have the kids put together some festive wrapping or decorate and envelope for a personal touch.

Charitable gifts. These gifts put others first and help great causes at the same time. Perfect for the person who ALREADY has everything, you can make a donation to various international charities (wildlife foundations, disaster relief, medical missions, peace keeping efforts and more) in the name of your gift recipient. They will receive a letter thanking them for their donation.


Food gifts. Before toys and technology, people gave what they had and that was usually some sort of food item. Sweet breads in decorative loaf pans, cakes, biscuits and cupcakes still make great gifts for teachers, grandparents, neighbours and friends. Give the delectable offerings time to cool sufficiently before wrapping them. If you're stuck for ideas, make up "Cake in a Cup" packages using the Cheapskates Club How To..... sheet. They are really cute, very affordable and take only a few minutes to put together.

Memberships/Subscriptions. Has one of the people on your list been meaning to join a gym? You can gift them a membership for Christmas. When money gets tight, memberships and subscriptions are usually the first to go. Renew a subscription to their favourite magazine or a service like the RACV (or the equivalent for their state).

Gift baskets. Most shops have them on display at Christmas time. You can buy one that is already made if you see one that fits your recipient’s tastes and your budget. For teachers and co-workers, baskets with mugs and coffee or hot chocolate are a safe bet. Or better yet, create your own with a basket and small items that reflect the recipient. Movie tickets and popcorn, pancake mix and a bottle of homemade pancake syrup, a washing powder tin and the ingredients to make their own washing powder (and of course the Cheapskates Club tip sheet with instructions), there are any number of fantastic gift basket ideas that are quick, easy and frugal.

Overall…have fun. Dress your presents up, make your own gift cards and tie them up with a bow or raffia or even strips of wool plaited into lengths. The personal touch will always go a long way.

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