Give Freely: 3 Great, Cheap Alternatives to Gift-Giving
We all look forward to celebrating our loved ones during the holiday season—but sometimes it can feel like the cost and the hassle of finding something that your recipients will actually like (seriously, what do you get a 20-something-year-old brother?) outweighs the reward of giving.
So if you’re finding your purse strings feeling less than loose this year, or you’re just plain stumped on what in the world is worth spending money on, here are three great ways to give freely—or at least a lot less expensively—and still make everyone feel special.
(Themed) Secret Santa
Sure, you’ve heard this one before, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange between friends or family members is a great way to honor your nearest and dearest, limit your shopping time, and keep your budget out of the red. This year, make it even more fun by adding a twist: Choose a theme, like, “Girls night,” “Ornaments,” or “Winter Wear.”
Have each person anonymously select a recipient, and keep potential Scrooges in check by setting a price range or limit. You can also have everyone write a short wish list that can be forwarded to their gifter. When guests arrive on the big night, have them place wrapped gifts under the tree. After everyone opens their gift, have everyone go around and guess their Santa. This is the best part—there are always some surprises!
White Elephant (With a Twist)
If you’re up for a little friendly competition, try a White Elephant-style gift exchange. Named after the white elephant that no one wanted to be stuck with at the end of the game (think hot potato!), this kind of exchange can be done with real or gag gifts (and again, set a price range).
For a fun twist, ask everyone to bring a real gift and put yourself in charge of the “white elephant.” Including one odd, useless, or funny gift will add to the competition and evoke the true spirit of the game! Or, make a rule that the gifts have to stay wrapped throughout the game. Allow people to steal from each other, but only based on the package, not what’s inside. Not knowing which gift will be yours in the end will definitely add to the holiday excitement.
Scrap Gifts and Do Something Special
Another way to celebrate loved ones is to skip buying gifts all together. Whether you’re part of a couple, a family, or a group of friends, call off the presents and instead give each other the best gift of all: time together. For instance, instead of exchanging expensive gifts with your honey (chances are, you’ll just want to return it anyway!), plan a romantic dinner or date night. Avoid getting another ugly sweater from your folks and instead, have your family all buy tickets to a special show or go for a weekend away. Or, gather up all of your girlfriends and plan a spa day.
Whether it’s the Nutcracker, the Rockettes, or the Poconos, the key is to plan something special and out of the ordinary. Sure, each person will be treating themselves, but ultimately you will be giving each other the gift of good company, while enjoying something you wouldn’t normally get to do.
Photo of holiday gift courtesy of Shutterstock.
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