In some countries, a Fruitcake is given with pride – a dense, rich, time-consuming cake, made lovingly, months in advance, and enjoyed as a special treat on Christmas day. However, where I live, it is a metaphor for something vile; given to people you really don’t like, and then passed on again – a gift that is perceived as old, inexpensive and filled with unidentified fruity objects. My point being, that we are all different. If you spend a bit of time thinking before you buy, you will be less stressed, your gifts will be appropriate and the money you spend becomes more manageable. Some people don’t celebrate the Holidays, and some just don’t like to give gifts, but sometimes you just need to do it…Call it whatever you like (obligation?) but at this time of year you will probably be invited somewhere where you need to take a gift. If you are not going to drive to the mall, or bake a batch of your famous, best-ever cookies, then my solution is to hit the supermarket. The only caveat with this type of shopping is to wrap it with care; don’t take it in the plastic supermarket bag, with the receipt and price tag still attached. And, buy imported things if you can – the packaging is different, and it can make an ordinary item feel a bit more special. With that out of the way, here are some good gifts that can be picked up on your way home for about $20.
Hostess Gift: (tasteful, edible, re-giftable) Sparkling, non-alcoholic, wine or cider and a box of truffles. A Christmas plant (poinsettia etc). If you know someone likes wine, find a bottle with an unusual, seasonal or funny label. Specialty Christmas blend of Organic Coffee, or gift box of Teas (Twinings, Bigelow etc).
Friends/Family: (personal, useful, indulgent) Warm, fuzzy socks, cocoa and shortbread cookies (Walkers). Moisturizer, lip balm, cuticle cream etc in a decorative tin/package that is more of a splurge than a regular buy (Burts Bees etc). Nice gloves and a scarf. Good quality scented candles in a jar (gingerbread, vanilla, apple etc) Soy candles are gentler, if you can find them. Several large bars of Chocolate tied up with a big ribbon.
Children: (fun/funny, colorful, creative) Drawing pad, stickers and pencils/markers/crayons. Brownie mix, bowl, toppings and mixing spoons. Deck of cards/UNO and mini games from the stationery aisle. A funny calendar or book. Old fashioned Silly (or fart) putty. Their favorite food, or candy. No matter what you buy for people, it needn’t be expensive or stressful. Write some ideas before you go, allow yourself time to look around and buy something that you really think they would like (fruitcake optional…)
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/