Today is the second installment of a three-part series I’m doing on inexpensive, yet still fun and creative and useful, Christmas gifts. The goal is to give items that would be a welcome gift and not just junk that will likely be tossed out at the end of the day. To be included in this gift guide it must be useful, lovely, and budget-friendly. Previously, I posted about Thrifty Stocking Stuffers, today we have Thriftier Stocking Stuffers, and last but not least, later I’ll feature Thriftiest Stocking Stuffers.
Chocolate: I put a king-sized Snickers bar in Anthony’s stocking every year, and every year he looks forward to it. I tried branching out and giving him fancy-pants chocolate, but that turned out to be a bad idea. A Snickers bar is what he wants so a Snickers bar is what he gets. For myself I’d rather get some of these Belgian thins or dark chocolate-covered pomegranates, but hell, I’d be glad to get some plain-old dark chocolate chips as well.
Craft Patterns: If you have a crafter in your life, you can support their habit by giving patterns in their stockings: sewing patterns, embroidery patterns, knitting patterns.
‘Designer’ Gifts: Give the designer in you life a font or a fancy vector. Write your gift on a piece of paper and tuck it in their stocking. I really think even a small gift, as long as it would be used and enjoyed by the recipient, is better than a more expensive gift bought with no real clue if the recipient will enjoy it.
Rifftrax: Have you heard of Rifftrax? Some of the guys from MST3K get together and riff current box office disasters which you buy in audio format and then play along with the movie. This way they can keep the jokes coming without having to afford the rights to each movie they riff. It’s brilliant. It’s hilarious. It’s the most fun you can have while watching the Twilight series. I want to convert the world to that magic that is Rifftrax.
Kitchen Gadgets: Spatulas wear out, pastry brushes become gross, and mandolins dull. Some kitchen gadgets are always useful. Also consider slightly more usual gadgets, such as potato ricers, melon ballers, or apple-slicers.
Ornaments: Many lovely and inexpensive options are easy to find. I’d advise against giving ornaments unless you know the person you’re buying for has room for them. It seems like people are on one end of the ornament spectrum or the other – too many or too few. My aunt and mother started a tradition of buying each of us cousins an ornament each Christmas so by the time we left home we’d have plenty of ornaments for our own tree. If you have a friend or a relative with a new baby, an ornament a year could be a great tradition to start.
Colorful Duct Tape: Duct tape in general is a wonderful gift item, useful for everything from making wallets, repairing household items, and taping ducks together (that’s why it’s called “duck tape,” right? I mean, I assume so.) Now it comes in various colors and patterns—even better! This is the kind of thing I’d want but wouldn’t buy for myself. While at my local craft store I found this adorable monogrammed tape and picked up a roll for my cousins.
Hobbies: if you have a relative with a particular hobby you can almost always find something small to give them that would be both useful and welcome. Do they play D&D? Give them some minis. Do they garden? Another pair of gloves or a kneeling pad is always useful. Do they like crafts? Buy them another rubber stamp. Get a comic book for your favorite reader. You don’t have to get them something big to add something meaningful to their hobby.
Napkins & Washcloths: I have friends who knit who make small things like a stack of washcloths. It makes me all sorts of jealous. They just crank them out like it ain’t no thang and they are just gorgeous. If you knit, share the love. Cloth napkins are another wonderful thing to put in a stocking. If you can’t find any while thrifting but are handy with a sewing machine, consider whipping some up.
Boxers: I like to put a pair or two of fun patterned boxers in Anthony’s stocking every year. I don’t know what I enjoy more: shopping for them or watching him open them to find yet another ridiculous pair of underwear inside. Because they are funny it’s not weird to give with family. This is kind of a one-way gift, as opening panties of any sort in public would be weird for me. Boxers avoid that sexy connotation so they are a go.
Today’s installment was for those of you lucky enough to have a budget, but what if your budget was too strict for these ideas? Never fear, later this week I’ll be coming out with one more gift guide for really-low and even no budget gifts that still meet the lovely and useful criteria. Stay tuned!