Does your Christmas gift list stretch from here to the mailbox? Do you need to buy for aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as your immediate family? That can add up to a hefty credit card bill come January. We have some ideas for great gifts you can get for about $10 or less – where thoughtfulness replaces high price tags. Try these on for size.
1. Bargain books. Check out the bins at all kinds of stores, not just bookstores. There are great discounted children’s books, cookbooks, and books on every subject imaginable. Does your aunt often mention her favorite childhood book? Get her a new copy. Does your cousin rave about his slow-cooker? Get him a cookbook for new ideas on how to use it. Your niece loves horses – there are lots of horse-related books in those bins.
2. Calendars. Younger folks mostly use their phones, but Grandpa John still uses a calendar, we bet. Get him one with vintage cars if that’s his passion. They come in every subject imaginable and those calendar kiosks pop up all over malls this time of year.
3. Art supplies. If your nephew is a budding artist (or even if he’s not), he may love a pad of blank paper and some fun colored pens or markers. Craft kits of all kinds will help keep kids busy over the holiday break.
4. An app. Yes, there’s an app for just about everything, and some are surprisingly affordable (or even free). Choose one suited to the recipient (and make sure they know how to use it).
5. Photos. What? Just about everyone has photos of their phones but it’s hard to display (or sometimes even find) them. Print out photos of the day you and your sister went to the amusement park and make her a little photo album (cheap at drug stores) to remember the day by.
6. Does everyone crave your fabulous fudge or your peanut brittle? Give them all a sample, nicely wrapped, with the recipe inside. Now they can make it any time they want.
7. Gourmet food. A packet of saffron or jar of real cinnamon will be a great addition to the spice rack of the gourmet cook on your list. Or get them a jar of caviar, if they’re a fan. You can get domestic (and very good) caviar at the grocery store.
8. Does your mom love an expensive perfume but you don’t feel like you can shuck out $50 for a bottle? Get her the lotion or bath powder in the same scent. It’s way cheaper and smells the same.
9. Makeup. Is there a little girl on your list? Get her a bottle of nail polish and some nail accessories. A teen-ager who dares to be different? How about peacock blue eyeshadow? Or temporary hair colorant that she can use for a purple streak to go with her favorite sweater?
10. A fabulous flashlight. Guys love flashlights. Yes, really. Get the biggest, baddest one you can find on your budget. Or go small — a headlamp for when they’re working on their car or fiddling in the woodshop.
Gifts don’t have to be expensive to say “I’m thinking about you” and sometimes they’ll get more use than that expensive wool sweater Aunt Mary bought you. It kind of itches.