The holidays are in full swing! Who doesn't love twinkling lights, jovial music, 396 varieties of cookies, and the season of giving! Ok fine, maybe that was a little cheesy. But even if you're not giving gifts this year, or don't in general, you can still find ways to support your loved ones beyond another "digitial" hangout. Besides, ever get a gift from someone that you just know was re-gifted? Maybe the fact that it’s a product that isn’t even on sale anymore, or they gave you a home spa kit when you don’t even like taking baths. Re-gifting is great if you have something you don’t want or can’t use, but someone else can and they have some kind of engagement coming up. If you really want to stand out, though, consider these gifts that not only will save you money (not competing with others) but leave a lasting impression, as well. I'll make this post short to mix it up, plus it's the holidays who has time to read a personal finance blog? ;)
1) Donate to a Charity for a Cause They Love: This is my favorite one because it goes above the materialistic gifts most of us give and receive for life’s celebrations. Charity was not talked about much in my house, so now that I am aware of all these deserving charities that truly have a track record of success, it is hands-down one of the most fun things to spend money on and feel good about. Share that feeling with your family and friends! Is your nature-loving bestie getting married? Get her a membership to the local land trust. Maybe she’ll get info on exclusive volunteer events, hikes and a magazine covering all her favorite things about nature. She will remember this long after the wedding as it keeps on giving, unlike that $300 crystal vase she has no use for in her urban Chicago apartment. You get a tax-deduction, you help out a good cause and strengthen a friendship! One website to check out is tisbest.org. It allows you to make a charitable donation and let the recipient pick their favorite cause!
2) Get a Gift Card for Something They are Dealing With: Is your friend so busy they can’t cook but they love a certain type of food? Did they go through a stressful time at work or at home and need a massage? Do you know if they could use new tires on their car? Not only does this show you are paying attention to them, it will pay dividends to their well-being later, and they have you to thank for it. You can save on gift cards by (here it is again!) purchasing them at Costco. For example, get a $100 Massage gift card for $79.99. You can also scope out sites such as CardPool (https://www.cardpool.com/) to find unwanted gift cards sellers are offering on the cheap. These sites are also great if Aunt Marjorie got you a gift card for DressBarn that you would even feel guilty re-gifting.
3) Put your Handy Skills to Use: Maybe for your dad's Christmas gift, instead of buying him a rotating tie rack and yet another watch, you can clean the gutters of the house, wash and vacuum his car and organize his desk. Sometimes, dads are so busy taking care of household finances, working and other tasks that a little help can go a long way, much more than some static gift, because you put time and effort into it. Maybe you’re good at technology. So help a friend build their website. Or you can invite your cousin over for some cooking classes. Why not even help your mom with home and financial record organizing? Maybe it’s on the to-do list but feels overwhelming. Use your skills!