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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gift-Giving for Cheap (or for that matter, for free!)

So, more digging on the internet.  I found this list of 30 totally free gift ideas on this website.  Of course, I couldn't resist adding my own two-cents on each of them in italics...

1. Give them breakfast in bed - You probably want to save this one for your partner or your roommate!


2. Print them off a handmade coupon for a back massage - I would say again, save this one for someone that you feel 'close' too!

3. Cook a special dinner for a friend or loved one - This is one that I have done often.  It is especially great for families that have just had a baby.

4. Give someone a special a day of pampering - I would save this one for any of the special women in your life (wife, friends, sister, mother, mother-in-law) - not that men don't like to be pampered...
5. Write a poem or a quote in honor of someone's birthday - We do this quite a bit in my family, and I know that I personally have a received a few of these that I cherish deeply.  My parents wrote Trent and I one for our wedding which we absolutely loved!

6. Clip the coupons from Sunday's paper and mail them in a card to a frugal shopper - I think that this one might be a bit out-dated, but on-line coupons might work, or for that matter, clip out any article in a newspaper or magazine that you think a friend might enjoy and send it by mail with a note.  (My friend Tess recently did this for me and it was very thoughtful).

7. Create a drawing or painting that has special meaning. - For those of you who are artistically inclined... (I wish I was, I think I'll just stick to photographs though!)

8. Make them a piece of jewelry out of seashells or pine cones. - Maybe a little bit juvenile... but who knows, you might be able to come up with something really neat.  If you do, I want to hear about it (and see the pics to prove it!)  My friend Jody once used 'earthy' items such as these to decorate a plain picture frame so you could do that instead.

9. Fill up a glass jar with sea stones and tie raffia around the top - See the above comment...

10. Light a candle and run a warm bath for that special person - Again, good one for someone that you share your life with.  Trent if you are reading this, I'll have mine with a glass of wine... (!)

11. Send an e-card or online greeting. - I don't find these to be all that personal.  Get out a pen and paper and send them a hand-written note instead.  These are my favorite and they let the person know that you think that they are worth the effort.

12. Print off information on a topic of interest to someone. - My brother Ben is the best for this.  He is always sending me stuff that he thinks that I might be interested in reading.  When you think about it, he is really saying, "I saw this and thought of you", which is a nice thought, don't you think?

13. Pass along a family heirloom or something that has sentimental value. - Probably not something that you are going to do everyday or anything, and it doesn't necessarily have to be an heirloom.  Books are wonderful things to share between friends.  I have mailed books to family/friends that I have enjoyed and that I think that they might like to read as well.

14. Surprise someone with a picnic using food that you already have on hand. - My husband is the very best at this.  Try it - your partner will love you for it!  I also have done this with some of my friends.  It is cheap and fun!

15. Leave a message on the bathroom mirror using toothpaste or lipstick. - Um, this one is so not for me.  Are you kidding?  Make more of a mess in my bathroom than I need to?  Maybe in the movies, but I am guessing those people don't have to clean it up afterwards!

16. Make cookies or fudge and wrap them in tissue paper. - I think that this is a good one.  People tend to love receiving baking and again, it lets them know that they are worth the time and effort. 

17. Send an e-mail that lists out the reasons why they are special or why you love them. - Kind of cheesy, but nice.  I know that I for one, do not tell 'my people' often enough how special they are to me.

18. Pick them up a free kitten or free puppy. - DO NOT DO THIS!  And if you do decide to do this, I cannot be held responsible!

19. Give them an old photograph that has been tucked away for some time. - I kind of like this one... especially for your parents.

20. Create a hobby scrapbook with images, articles and tidbits about their favorite activity. - I like this one too.  If you are like me and prefer to do things like this digitally, there are a ton of sites out there in which you can do it (although, I just remembered, this isn't free, whoops!) So, scrapbooking it is...

21. Check out a book at the library for someone and return it for them on time. - I can't see myself doing this, but if you want to, have at it!

22. Give them a seedling to grow using one of your own plants. - Personally, I love this one.  You can also find neat little pots at thrift stores to give them as well.

23. Find a funky shaped rock and write a story about what it reminds you of.  - Pretty neat one I think.  If you are artistically inclined, you could also paint on it.

24. Sew together pieces of old clothing for a truly unique table runner. - I love this one!  My sewing is coming along too by the way (now that I know how to use the darned thing!)

25. Create a gift voucher for one hour of doing whatever they want. - Ummmm, be careful who you give this one to... if you know what I mean ;)

26. Weed their garden for them or rake their lawn. - I hope someone gives this to me this summer... have you seen the size of my garden?

27. Decorate a household utensil with craft items you have on hand. - I am not sure what exactly they have in mind on this one...

28. Give them a hug. - You should be doing this anyway.

29. Give them a kiss. - Not exactly for everyone on your list is it?

30. REGIFT! - My all-time favorite gift-giving practice!!!!  (Come on, you know you've done it too!)Re-gift, but do it with caution and careful thought! (aka, don't regift the gift that you received from your aunt back to your aunt OR, don't give your mother that copy of 'Slayers' that you received for Christmas!)

For more on this topic, click here to read a list of re-gifting no-no's.

Okay, in all seriousness, it really is important to acknowledge the important people in your lives, no matter how you choose to do it. 
“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” - Richard Moss

Honour a friend or loved-one today!

Marebare :)

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