Ah, the holiday season. It’s the time of festive lights, hot cups of cider, roaring fireplaces, crackling chestnuts, and Michael Bublé tunes playing unremittingly everywhere you go. But what about the other part of the season? You know, the less popular, stressful bit where you’re worrying about final papers, holiday weight gain, and gift shopping. I can’t account for the first two (sometimes you just have to embrace the inevitable), but I’ve mastered how to manage the third. This year, don’t worry about blowing entire paychecks on expensive presents that may or may not be put into use by their recipients. Here’s your comprehensive guide on how to spend less while providing the best gifts.
- Give them exactly what they want, within reason. Is your brother craving a new bike? Dropping a few hundred dollars on a set of wheels probably isn’t your best bet. They mentioned they’re running low on winter layers? Here’s your chance to find them fancy socks or a thick scarf.
- Spend money on experiences, not things. Gift them tickets to a local festival or concert.
- Provide a raincheck. Promise to take them to a movie during a weekend they’re free. This removes the stress of planning, they get to choose the movie, and you (might) get to join. Everyone wins!
- Spill your heart out. Write them a long card expressing your feelings, why you love them, and what they mean to you. Nothing like sweet, oozy sentimentality. This is my mom’s favorite gift.
- Work with inside jokes. You and your friend both obsess over The Room? Find her a t-shirt with Tommy Wiseau’s face plastered onto it.
- Remember the small things. Does your sister always complain about how she keeps forgetting to buy a subscription to the New Yorker? Do it for her! Plus, you can receive a student discount if you match the criteria.
- Put your skills to good use! Are you a pro-knitter? Love to bake? Addicted to PhotoShop? Channel your creativity into making personalized gifts.
- DIY. Are you not particularly skilled in a particular artisanal craft like the ones mentioned above? Pinterest is your best friend. Get crafty!
- Give something you’ll both enjoy. Give the gift of a home cooked meal and a movie or a planned-out day trip to the city.
As it turns out, gift giving doesn’t mean buying the ultimate present. Give the better gift – the gift of an experience, of a sentiment, or of yourself. This will not only save you buckets of money, but will also last the longest.