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Gift Ideas On A Budget
Untitled Document

GIFT IDEAS ON A BUDGET

Get Your Loved Ones Great Gifts Even If You're On A Budget

The holidays are looming right around the corner, and with their arrival comes the media-sponsored idea that you have to buy a gift for every person you know in order to prove your love. It is a nerve-racking and stress-promoting assumption that causes plenty of headaches, guilt, and financially-induced nausea from sea to shining sea.

Well, get it out of your head that a gift is something that must be wrapped in box, tied up with silver ribbon and presented on the morning of December 25. Let’s take back our holidays from the legions of advertisers and marketers who scream to us that true love equals diamonds and real friends give each other spa vacations. Let’s recreate the true meaning of the mid-winter holiday, which for thousands of years has been a time to gather with family and friends to feast and make merry, to relight the fires in the middle of the coldest season and remind each other that the warm sun shall come again.

The best gift you can give your loved ones is your presence, so when you think of a gift, think of this: what can you present to make your loved ones’ lives better? Most of all, don’t stress about the gift-giving aspect of the holidays; it has only arisen during modern times along with the growth of mass consumer culture. Two hundred years ago very few people were giving gifts on the holidays, and today everyone is aware that budgets are tighter and people are strapped for cash. So don’t worry about not having the “right” gift. Life is the gift, and friendship is the pretty paper that we wrap it in.

GIFT IDEAS UNDER $10

Here are a few gift ideas that are all under $10:

Music. Music is one of the greatest facets of human existence, and you can easily and cheaply share your favorite tunes with your loved ones if you have iTunes or another similar digital music program. Create a unique mix for each person of songs you think they would like, and then burn them to a blank CD, which costs about twenty cents each.

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Craft Supplies. Know a budding artist, a latent artist, a scribbler or someone who just likes to create beautiful things? Get silly and give them a fat box of fresh crayons, a long package of bright markers and a thick notepad waiting to be filled. Introduce some colorful fun into their days.

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Let Them Teach You. Does your grandmother crochet? Aunt knit a fit? Ask them to teach you how to do the same. Passing on a valued skill means a lot to an older person, and you can bestow upon your teacher your first scarf or blanket as a thank-you gift.

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Yard Work. Many older people have trouble keeping up on their yard work, so pop over unexpectedly and do some of the dirty jobs like gutter cleaning, leaf raking and shrub trimming. For an added bonus, hoist up a strand of lights on a tree by the door- but don’t forget to come take them down when the season is over.

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Babysit. Know a frazzled parent or two? Offer to watch the kids while mom, dad, or both does whatever in the world they want to. “Me time” is a precious commodity in family land, and the gift of time alone will mean a lot to a busy parent, which is all of them.

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Nail Polish, Manicure & Pedicure. Buy a fun and festive polish color and then pamper a friend’s hands and nails (and toes too!) with a massage, a buff, and a polish. Grandma’s tootsies never looked so good!

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Work in a Soup Kitchen. Give your time in honor of somebody else; this is akin to donating to a charity in someone’s name, but working in a soup kitchen is even better as you are giving your time and energy, not just cutting a quick check. Donating your time at a nursing home is also a worthy endeavor.

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Write a Letter and Send a Greeting Card. Has someone made a difference in your life? Have they shown you love and support when you needed it most? Write them a letter, and be specific with details of when the recipient was being particularly awesome. Most people would rather get a complimentary letter and greeting card than some random picture frame any day of the week.

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Homemade Casserole. Everyone is covered up in sweet goodies like cookies and candy this time of year; what people really need during the holidays isn’t another sugar overload but a delicious and healthy ready-to-eat meal that can be thrown in the oven and pulled out in half an hour to the tune of: “Dinner’s Ready!” Include the recipe for a nice touch.

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Throw a Party. While this one extends past the $10 mark, it covers the gifts of everyone at once. Give the gift of an unforgettable experience and plan a party at your place, taking the fall for hosting and cleanup duties. Inexpensive snacks and drinks are fine; people aren’t there to hobnob like it’s a chi-chi lounge, they are there to eat, drink and make merry with the ones they love. Who could ask for a better present than that?

More Gift Ideas

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Shilo Urban is a freelance writer who has just relocated to Los Angeles after her previous homes of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine, and Austin. She is an active member of the West Coast electronic music community and lives to promote the art that she loves and the people who create it.



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