Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas Shopping Ideas

Everybody is thinking about Christmas right now. One of the main thoughts though, about Christmas is buying Christmas gifts. Now even though you are being frugal, that doesn't mean you can't buy some sensible presents for your family. It is a rare family that is not struggling with this economy we are living with. If you are reading my blog, you are not one of those people who have no worries about your budget. I hope we can all get through the Christmas holiday season without wrecking our budgets. Here are some ideas for useful gifts that family members will like because they are useful.

1. For coffee drinkers buy a few cans of coffee when it goes on sale at your store. Put them in a box and wrap. As a coffee drinker myself, I'd love that for a present! Or you could buy them a variety of flavored coffees that they can't afford to buy. I always buy one bag of Dunkin' Donuts Gingerbread for myself, but if someone gave me that as a present, I'd really love it.

2. If you have some recipes for making your own mixes, such as cake mix, baking mix, hot cocoa mix, pudding mixes, etc. Make some up and put in one of the larger canning jars or a Christmas tin. Then label it and include the recipes for using it attached to the jar with a ribbon. Here is one example of one that I have used:

Mocha Cocoa Beverage Mix recipe

  • 2 2/3 cups nonfat dry milk
  • 3/4 cup instant cocoa mix
  • 1/2 cup instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup powdered nondairy creamer
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Mix thoroughly and put into a blender a couple cups at a time and blend to a fine powder.
To use, add approximately 2 rounded teaspoons per cup of boiling water, or less, to suit your own taste.

3. Gift Cards are another great idea!  You can buy a card and include it in a little box or card for whatever amount you want to give them. If they want to spend more they can add to it. But your gift may help them be able to purchase something they wanted or needed. Or a gift card for groceries would be welcome to many.

4. A basket for the bathroom could be filled with bars of soap, disposable razors, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, a body brush or a couple of colorful wash cloths.

5. How about one of those big packages of paper towels or toilet paper? I mean, anyone can use that! Those are items that you can't go wrong on. 

6. An inexpensive mixing bowl with a bottle of pure vanilla, a few packages of various seasonings (buy them in bulk at a Mennonite or Amish bulk foods store and split up for a number of gifts), a jar of Pumpkin or Apple butter, a bag of nuts, baking powder, sugar and a wooden spoon. 

7. How about a plastic bucket with household cleaning products? You know all those things you always need to buy? Window cleaner, bath tub cleaner, etc. you know what I mean. Add some sponges and put colored plastic wrap on it and tie a big red bow on the handle. 

8. Do you have someone to buy for who really loves his truck or car? Buy auto cleaner, auto wax, ice scrapper, auto gadgets, etc. and put them in an auto trash can. Or how about one of those  auto organizers and fill it up with auto items.

9. For the person who works on their computer and has a home office, you could get them pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser, stapler, mouse pad, ink cartridges, paper, and a cute basket that could be a trash can. 

10. If someone in your family does needlework or some other crafts, buy them some supplies that they need with all projects. Like fill an attractive bag with all the types of things they need along the lines of needles, scissors, tape measure, etc. whatever they need for whatever craft they like to do. 

On my post of last year, Christmas Presents That Are Useful, I covered this same subject. I am not talking about buying expensive presents, but useful things. If you can afford to buy the expensive stuff that is fine. But you know what? Even if I could afford the expensive stuff, I still wouldn't buy it for someone. The reason is, that many times, you make the others feel they have to keep up with you, and spend like you did on them, for you. And they just can't. So it gets them into a real bind doing that. There is a lot more to Christmas than buying presents!

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole unless otherwise stated.

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