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November 20, 2014

Another week, another post on how to avoid

Panic Shopping Syndrome
(Running around like a crazy person on Dec. 24th buying inappropriate, over-priced gifts.)

So, have you had a chance to compose a Happy List Notebook for this year's holiday gift-giving season?  For a refresher, click here.

There are exactly 5 weeks 'til Christmas - yikes! - but we've still got plenty of time to shop wisely and save money.   You might find today's suggestions a little unusual (okay, maybe they're a lot unusual) but give them some serious consideration.

1.  Shop in your own house.  What?!  Is there something you already own that someone on your list likes or wants?  Why not give it to them?  A purse, an item of art, a new (slightly read) book, a piece from your own collection?  

A few years ago a sweet, elderly friend decided to give a few of her beautiful, treasured antiques to family members who she knew appreciated them.  It made my friend happy to know that her loved ones were enjoying family heirlooms and they were thrilled to receive them.

The Kennedy Wives
2.  Ask family and/or friends if they would be interested in a theme gift exchange and set a spending limit of $20 or less.  Books, dvds, restaurant gift cards, board games, a piece of cookware - the theme possibilities are endless.  And they're usually practical.

Even if you don't participate in a theme gift exchange that doesn't have to stop you from giving everyone on your list the same type of gift.  Tailor your choices to their interests - books on history, hobbies, cooking, architecture, etc.

3.  Almost new cookbooks can be found at thrift shops at very reasonable prices and thousands of new publications can be found on Amazon for under $20.  Buy a cookbook, look up an interesting but simple recipe, buy the ingredients and wrap them up with the book.  Ingenious! 

4.  Give your knowledge and skills.  Do you have an aunt who is interested in genealogy?  Buy her a month's membership at Ancestry and help her research the family.  Do you know how to knit?  Buy needles and yarn, call the nieces (and nephews!) together and give them a knitting lesson.  You might just ignite a new generation of crafters.  Share what you know.

Handheld Scanner
5.  Are you familiar with a handheld scanner?  They're incredibly easy to use and excellent for copying old family photos onto a cd or memory card.  The one I bought was under $50 and it's made archiving old photos and documents a snap.   Mine has a tiny memory card that holds over 800 photos!  Buy one then offer to scan family's and friends' old film photos.  Who wouldn't love to receive a stack of cds that hold preserved, precious memories?

6.  School and church craft fairs and bazaars are gold mines of inexpensive handcrafted treasures.  Custom jewelry, ornaments, dolls, toys, crocheted items, baked goods - you'll be amazed at the variety of high quality items you'll find.  Call your local Senior Citizens Center and ask if they're holding a holiday craft fair.  They're open to the public, offer wonderful crafted gifts, and a portion of what you spend will go to the Center.  Win, win, win!

Did any of these suggestions strike your fancy?  At least I hope today's post inspires you to think outside the box when considering gift giving.  The thought of breaking your budget on a gift that won't be used is just sad.  Thoughtful planning will make this holiday season fun and satisfying.


  1. Your blog is the best.
    I have a friend who wrote me and said lets just exchange cards (she and I make ours) and we do.
    And for my friends in town, we are all watching our pocketbooks along with a few of our waist line. I buy a flowering plant in a nice pot or a bowl of Christmas Clementines. If we can't eat it, read it or plant it, we don't give it.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. That's the right idea - how many more 'things' do any of us need? I love your idea of homemade, personal cards. "If we can't eat it, read it or plant it, we don't give it" - I love that quote!!

  2. There's a chance you are eligible to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.