plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

November 6, 2008

starting on the Christmas gifts

Filed under: shopping — Tags: , , — plonkee @ 1:09 pm

I have awesome lists of Christmas gifts cribbed from magazines the magic of t’internet. There are 102 gift basket ideas, 102 stocking stuffers, 63 gifts under $10 and 50 inexpensive gifts. Not to mention my own personal list of 101 frugal gift ideas.

You’d think given this, and that I love to give gifts, that I’d have no problem picking out Christmas gifts for my family. Indeed, at work, I’m considered the gift shopper extraordinaire for leaving gifts, baby gifts, wedding gifts,…

The problem is that I’m very good at generic gifts. Leaving gifts are easy – think office-y but nice, so it tends to be coffee mugs, business card holders, pens, filofax, cufflinks, etc plus a gift card if there’s any remaining money. Baby gifts are also ridiculously easy – a nice complete outfit for the child (when I’m picking it invariably includes either jeans or a denim jacket, because I think it’s amusing), flowers/chocolates for the mother, and a giftcard for any remaining money. The default wedding gift is something from the registry, or if that doesn’t exist, a bottle of wine/champagne and a couple of glasses, or giftcard/cash, if that seems more appropriate.


I can think of a whole heap of reasonable generic gifts for women:

  • toiletries
  • jewellery
  • perfume
  • scarves
  • bags
  • picture frames
  • candles
  • chocolates

most of these would suit most women.


Men, I find harder to buy for, and but generically, it’s normally:

  • ties
  • cufflinks
  • aftershave
  • books
  • dvds
  • cds
  • wine/beer
  • chocolates

there’s usually something in there that would suit most men.

not generic, but personal!

As I said, generic gifts, fine. I can even pick out generic gifts for children and teenagers. But actual gifts for my family, not so much. Gift giving is important to me, and I’d like to get them something that they really like. The thing that I have to admit to myself, is that I just don’t know them all that well. And if I’m sticking to my modest budget, it gets even harder.

I know that my brothers and sisters would quite like giftcards to clothes shops, for example. But, I try and shop for bargains, so that it looks like I spent more than I actually did – giftcards would proclaim loud and clear that I only spend £20 per head. Probably less than everyone else (and I earn more), and not enough to get something really great.

I think everyone has this problem to some extent. Either you aren’t very good at picking up hints from your loved ones, or you don’t know them that well, or you struggle for ideas in general, or you don’t have enough money to find something good, or…

Never mind. Whilst I’m probably not going to give the worlds greatest gifts this Christmas, I can share some ideas that I’ve had over the years that might work for you, or and maybe, in doing so we I can think of some things that would suit my family 😉 .

Look for some frugal Christmas gift ideas coming up over the next few weeks.

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