We’re just weeks away from Christmas Eve, and you know what that means: shopping manias are about to take over stores and the Web!
Similar to previous Holiday seasons, expect even small local shops to be jam-packed, especially between 5PM to 9PM (as these are the times when people usually get off work). For folks who want to avoid the rush, they go online to get the best deals and prices. Then they simply pay and pick it up in store. This is a great option for people who want to avoid long lines, busy clerks, and the hassle of looking for a parking space.
Although the day of gift-giving is near, many of you will undoubtedly still wait until the second or third week of December before buying anything. It could be because you’re still waiting on your Christmas bonus from work, or you’re betting on prices going much lower days before the actual celebration.
While you think about clever gift ideas for your loved ones, consider these five alternative presents that are more than your usual generic toys, wallets, and vouchers. Aside from being practical, they can be fairly cheap, easy to wrap, and go beyond the Holidays.
#5 Fully-Planned Trip or Travel Itinerary
It seems that everyone today has a bucket list of places they want to visit, activities they want to do, and food they want to eat. Don’t just leave everything to a travel agency though. In fact, it’s not that difficult to create a full itinerary for your special someone.
Trip planner app, TripIt, has a simple four-step template on how to design a dream vacation on their blog. Think of everything: from the restaurants they should dine in, the local hidden gems they should check out, plus a complete list of travel must-haves. Don’t forget to secure the necessary documents for them, if they need any. A fantastic way to wrap it all up is by putting their trip essentials inside their new luggage. How cool is that?
One of the most important things to keep in mind though, is your recipient’s preferences. For instance: if you want to gift a mountain-climbing Canada trip to your mother to help combat her fear of heights, that’s probably not such a good idea. Opt for something she’ll truly enjoy (like that wine-tasting tour she’s always wanted to attend) and save the daredevil surprises for another date.
#4 Tickets or Classes for Once in a Lifetime Experiences
Experience gifts have become popular go-to presents in the last few years. From backstage tickets to hot air balloon rides, there’s something for every person on your Holiday list.
Is your Dad an auto enthusiast? Give him a full day of driving a luxury car of his choice from your local car dealer. Did your bestfriend mention that she’s always wanted to try cooking, but never found the time? Enroll her in a three-day basic cooking class in your neighborhood. Better yet – why don’t you join her?
These types of presents are not only unique, they encourage spending time with your friends and family members. Perhaps it’s been a while since you and your loved ones spent an entire day together. Plenty of websites hold affordable deals on the experience of your choice. Cloud9living.com is one of these services. They have offers that range from race car driving to flying tours. With experience gifts, one click is all you need.
#3 Anything Homemade
Who doesn’t want their very own canvas photo print of their favorite Instagram selfie? How about a huge jar of different bath bombs?
Homemade gifts are one of our top three best alternative Holiday presents because they take TIME and EFFORT to create. Not to mention the endless possibilities of gifts to give away! The only downside is that, it could be time-consuming and not advisable for people with super busy schedules. The upside is that there’s always something good to be made, whether it’s cookies or scented candles.
If you’re in the mood to make your own gifts this year, visit Pinterest or Instructables for a goldmine of ideas.
#2 Gifts for Charity
You may have a loved one who prioritizes the spirit of sharing more than anyone else. Maybe this person doesn’t want anything for himself, but instead, wants to give something back to the community. In this case, you have two options:
Arrange for this person to have some volunteer work at the charity or institution of his choice. It could be at a senior’s home or a homeless shelter.
Look for shopping sites that support charitable causes. The St. Jude Gift Shop for example, is a website dedicated to selling products where proceeds go to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Your friend or loved one will certainly appreciate the kind gesture.
#1 DIY Coupons
Are you familiar with the old saying that your TIME is your most precious gift to someone? Lately, DIY coupons have taken the Pinterest boards by storm. Similar to real coupons, these can be exchanged for the things you want. But unlike store vouchers, they don’t feature items – they can be swapped for services you’re willing to do for important people in your life.
Get creative! Buy some thick cardstock, pickup your colored pens, add a bit of glitter, and then tie them together with a pretty ribbon. Think about what your loved ones want to receive from you. Maybe your Mom would love for you to do the dishes for an entire week? Your Dad will certainly appreciate a dinner date with you after work. Don’t forget your siblings, cousins, and friends!
The best part is you can give away as many coupons as you want. Why not give a month’s worth of your time?
The Holidays are not only for buying presents or shopping. This year, don’t just focus on gifts you can wrap – consider a gift that gives itself long after the season of cheer is gone.