Monday, October 13, 2008

Practical Christmas gift ideas

When times are hard, that's when you really want to give practical, usable gifts. Face it, a fancy piece of jewelry don't mean a hill of beans when you don't have any grocery, or your lights are about to get cut off, or you don't even have enough gas to get to work. Can you say "pawn shop", because that's exactly where that jewelry may end up.

I'm a simple, practical person. So naturally in my opinion, the best gift to give and receive in good times and bad is something that someone can and will use. And I don't mean just use it because, oh well, I got it so I might as well use it up. No, what I mean is something that if someone else didn't buy for them, they would go out and buy for themselves because they either really need it or they like it or have a habit of it, etc. Some people like to "give them something they wouldn't buy for themselves". I never understood that logic. Let's think about this. If they won't buy it for themselves, maybe it's because they don't want or need it bad enough. Therefore, it may not be the best choice of gift for you to give them. On the other hand, I guess it could make sense, if their reason for not buying it is because they simply could not afford it, and if they could they would buy it.

But whatever the case, if you will be shopping for anyone this year and you really want your gift to be a blessing in these tough economic times, here are some practical gifts you can give that most people would appreciate.

  1. Topping the chart at the number one spot – a gas card (what else?)
  2. A Wal-Mart or Target gift card. Everybody that I know shops at one or both of these stores, on a regular basis. Trust me, they WILL use this gift.
  3. Underwear (of course you can not give this kind of gift to everyone, you have to know the person, like really well).
  4. A grocery store gift card. One thing's for sure, people have to eat.
  5. A box full of household cleaning supplies. You can include dish detergent, laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach, sponges. Some people are kind of finicky about brands for these items, I admit I am myself. But believe me, if someone gave me a box of them, I wouldn't care, I would use them just the same.
  6. An assortment of towels. I don't know why but I am forever "losing" towels some how. Well with 4 other people in the house I think I know how, but that's another subject. So towels are definitely welcomed. Bath towels, washcloths, dish towels, hand towels, they all come in handy. Because eventually if they don't get "lost" first, they get so worn and torn that they are only good for cleaning rags.
  7. Money. Yes you can give money as a gift. If you don't believe me, just try it and see how many people act disappointed because you gave them money. If they don't like it they can re-gift it. Yeah, right. I don't know where people ever got the idea that money as a gift is a bad thing. Maybe it's because there is nothing left to the imagination about how much you spent, but I don't care. I would much rather receive a $10 bill in my hand than a whatnot that cost $20, but I will never use, just look at it, looking at me, sitting on some shelf somewhere.
  8. A gift card to their favorite restaurant. Most people like to eat out even when times are hard. I know it would be a sad day at my house if we had totally cut out a trip to Cracker Barrel every now and then. We would survive but those Sunday mornings after church would not be the same. Give them a restaurant gift card that way they can still have a meal out without breaking the bank.
  9. Your personal time. Can you mow their lawn or watch their kids for them for a day? What about preparing a meal? A lot of people are so overwhelmed with routine day to day life and can really use a helping hand with these tasks. When you are busy and things are hectic, the gift of time is priceless. One of the best gifts I ever received was a free housecleaning. It didn't cost the giver a dime moneywise, but it did take a few hours of her time. It came at a time when I really needed the help, and it is a gift that I will remember and cherish a lot longer than something bought. That simple gift of thought and time not only saved me time, it also made my relationship with the person who gave it to me even stronger because it showed me how much she really cared.

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