Money On Gifts
matter how much we love the person we are buying a gift for, there are limits
to what we can spend on them. We are surrounded by advertising and perfect TV
lives, and this pressures us to give “good” presents to show we care.
reality is, people will love and be happiest with a gift from the heart rather
than a gift with a huge price tag. There are ways to cut gift giving costs
without cutting back on the thought and value of the gift given.
far the best tip is to start early. Knowing who you need presents for during
the year makes it easier to grab bargains when you see them. It also means you
have time to shop around, think of what to get and not be forced into buying
from a boutique because it’s convenient in the last minute rush.
an eye for specials on wrapping paper, cards, ribbons and other useful items.
It is much easier to have a stock at home ready for any event that comes up
during the year.
outside the square
shopping centres have drawing power, but they are not the only places to find
to the discount shops and warehouse outlets for bits and pieces. You may be
surprised at how many gifts you can get at such places, or you may just find
lots of items you can make into wonderful gifts. For example, a glass photo
frame can be painted and have a picture added for under $5 to make a beautiful,
personal gift, or fill a box with pencils, crayons, scrapbook, glue and
scissors for a budding artist.
forget other shops can provide good gifts, too. Hardware and craft shops have
tools for the enthusiast as well as bits and pieces for others, office
suppliers have nice pens and diaries, neighbourhood houses sometimes sell
crafts and books whilst speciality schools may have accessories available.
of one big gift, consider putting two or three smaller items together and
presenting it as a set. For instance,
A heat pack with some massage oil
Hot Chocolate powder and a lavender sachet to encourage sleep
Bath salts and a lovely candle
Shower gel, moisturiser and talc of the same scent
A novel and some chocolates or biscuits
A steering wheel cover and a bottle of car polish
A sunhat with sunscreen and insect repellent
garage sales and fetes, as well as second hand shops, can be a source of many
wonderful items. People sometimes sell unused items at these sales at a
fraction of the original cost. Other items, especially toys, look as if they
are new and will be treasured by a young child regardless of its origin.
pieces of china or cutlery can be used creatively, or may even be the latest
funky fashion! Cushions and paintings may be done up with a new cover or new
frame for much less than an entirely new equivalent would have cost.
sales are often held as children outgrow their old toys, books and
entertainments. Many videos, books, board games and puzzles (count the pieces
are there!) are in excellent condition and young children aren’t fussy if the
original box is missing.
boxes, bowls and buckets at sales may be useful for presenting gifts. Just wash
them in warm water and leave them to dry before use, and possibly line them
with fabric or paper for effect. Fill a bread basket with jams and tea packets,
a mixing bowl with a recipe book and some fancy ingredients or a handled basket
could become Little Red Hiding Hood’s basket of goodies for imaginative play.
for old plant pots and use one as a gardener’s gift box – add some seed
packets, a pair of gloves, plant ties and the like before wrapping in green
cellophane. Plant cuttings can also be grown up as a nice gift – herbs are
particularly nice and they can be presented in many different containers for
Other Gift ideas
bit of creativity can result in some gifts that will be appreciated by your
friends and family without having to cost you a small fortune. Sometimes, the
cheapest gifts are the most treasured.
some vouchers as gifts. Give new parents a voucher for a night’s babysitting, a
busy couple may appreciate a day’s housework, isolated people would love half a
day of your company to go shopping, take a child to their favourite park for
two hours, mow the lawns or weed the garden for some relatives, or feed a pet
lover’s animal for a week.
There are a multitude of vouchers you can present
and people will love them if you have thought about what they need. If you have
particular skills, the voucher can reflect that – teach them to play piano,
tidy their accounts, give a massage, cook some meals, service a car, paint a
mural or organise their junk room.
your time and skills to make presents rather than buying them. Don’t go
overboard though, as it may end up costing more if you use expensive fabrics or
materials. Homemade biscuits, cakes and sweets are always appreciated, as are
home grown flowers and vegetables.
you can sew or paint, consider making items to match a friend’s décor, maybe
using scraps from their curtains or couch covers. Make some table centrepieces
using florists foam and various cones, berries, leaves and flowers, many of
which you will be able to find in gardens and parks around you.
a favourite poem or song, print it in a beautiful font and present it nicely in
a frame or mount it. The paper can be soaked in tea for an aged look if
desired. A photo may be framed with it and you might consider writing a poem
yourself if you are a poet.
Children love making gifts, and people who love them will also be thrilled by
the child’s efforts. Instead of the children giving bought gifts, help them to
make some useful craft items such as a photo frame, bath salts, biscuits,
magnets and calendars.
are often showered with presents, even if they have an array of toys already.
Given this, they probably don’t need a lot more toys so don’t feel obliged to
give them piles of presents or everything they ask for.
everything needs to be fancy, either. Most children would be very happy with a
video you make for them by taping their favourite TV shows or themselves and
people they love. Make a book or photo scrapbook about your child during the
year and give it to them on for their birthday – if you do this regularly, they
will have a lovely set of mementoes as an adult.
do not have to be saved for Christmas. Make up a stocking of sorts (use a box,
library bag, backpack or whatever comes to mind) and top it up with home made
biscuits (make the child’s name or favourite animal shapes,) bathers, scrunchies
and hair ties, biscuits cutters for playdough, a new toothbrush, name labels
for belongings, socks, pencils, glitter glue, stickers, pieces of fruit, bubble
bath and many little items you may otherwise get for them anyway.
There really is pleasure to be found in giving, and this is multiplied when you
have really put in effort for the gift. By putting time into the gift, instead
of money, you will be rewarded with satisfaction and a bigger bank balance!
Tash Hughes is a Mum of two in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner
of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any
business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see
her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com