My gift strategy is to look for gifts starting a few months before the holiday. If I find something that will make a great present, I stash it in a box in my closet until November, when I make a formal list of everyone I want to give gifts to. This takes some pressure off of buying gifts (because I’ve already bought many of them) and it allows me to take advantage of sales.
My digital buddy Jennifer Melnick Carota, aka The Gift Therapist, has a similar strategy. She keeps a special “gift wallet” in her purse where she keeps $20 in cash.
“This allows me to challenge myself to find the best gifts at the best prices…without the guilt of cutting into my household budget,” she told me. “In addition to gift items, I also load up on off-season gift wrap, baskets, and ribbon all year long. Look for major steals at up to 90 percent off following any given holiday!”
Buying early is one strategy for keeping within your budget. If it doesn’t appeal to you, no worries. I will suggest a few other approaches in the coming weeks and months. But if any of these gift ideas appeal to you, start watching for them to go on sale!
For anyone who cooks – America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. This is hands down my favorite cookbook (sorry, Barefoot Contessa!). Every recipe is party proof, so no worries about testing out recipes ahead of them. They are ALL amazing.$23.07 at Amazon.
For a good friend – cute note cards. Know someone who loves to send thank yous in the mail? For an extra touch, pair the gift with a special roll of stamps. This blue and brown set of cards with a tapestry design comes with 14 cards and 15 envelopes for $9. Keep an eye on sales at stationary stores for a low-priced set.
For a host or hostess – look for serving pieces in the clearance section of your favorite discount department stores, recommends the Gift Therapist. “The plates, platters, and/or utensil sets make a fabulous addition to the gift of food,” she said. “And be sure to tell the giftee to keep the dish!”