It doesn’t matter how much you brainstorm, window-shop, or click around online: there’s always that one person on your holiday shopping list who is impossible to shop for. From the family friend you don’t know very well, to a family member who insists that they are just fine and would only like a nice pair of socks (thank you very much), hunting for the perfect present can be tough. Now that Black Friday has passed and the biggest sales have spread far and wide, it’s prime holiday shopping season. With a few weeks left to get your savings on, check out our holiday gift ideas.
1. Pay an Everyday Bill
Lightening the financial load just a little bit is a practical way to bring holiday cheer to those you love. Offer to pay their monthly utility, phone service, or cheap car insurance bill and give them one less expense to worry about come January. Or, give them a prepaid gift card that they can use like cash to help pay for groceries or another monthly expense.
2. The Perfect Haircut
Think about the last time you walked out of a barbershop or salon with a great haircut. It makes your whole day better, doesn’t it? A nice haircut or a new hairstyle can be a special indulgence for someone who doesn’t usually spend the extra money on it, so give the gift of looking good with a gift card to the stylist of your giftee’s choice.
3. Help Out with Chores
Oftentimes holiday stress includes a lot of mess. Picking up after family and friends during the holidays, when there’s even more to do than usual, can be overwhelming. Offer your services to your giftee and do a little vacuuming, dishwashing, sanitizing… whatever’s on the list that will help the most. You can even go the extra mile and help them do some simple DIY car care to keep their car clean and running well.
4. A Sweet Framed Photo
On a wall, an office desk, or a coffee table, a framed photo featuring a favorite memory with your friend or family member is an easy and thoughtful gift. Inexpensive DIY photo prints are available from places like CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart for under $5. Pick your favorite photo, then bring your memory card into a store or order a print online for delivery. Pick out a frame, spritz the glass with a little glass cleaner before putting the photo in, wrap the whole thing up, and you’ve got a gift that will last for years.
5. Music While They Drive
These days there are many ways to hook your music up to your car’s speakers. While some newer cars come equipped with auxiliary audio input jacks for connecting an MP3 device to a car’s sound system, others only have CD players or cassette decks. If the person on your holiday shopping list has always wanted to go beyond mix-tapes and CD’s in their car, get them a simple gadget to make it happen. Get a cassette player adapter that fits into the tape deck and connects to a device, and boom! Instant stereo upgrade.
6. Offer to Babysit
Friends or siblings with kids probably don’t get a lot of time to themselves. Getting a night or some weekend time off can be a real treat for a busy parent. Offer to babysit for a day, or even a just few hours, and let them relax.
7. Encourage a Hobby
Does your gift recipient have a hobby they’d like to spend more time on? Start with a book about their hobby (whether it’s cooking or DIY motorcycle maintenance) and gather up a few tools of the trade so they can finally get started on the project they’ve always wanted to do. If it’s an activity you know a lot about, offer a free lesson! You’ll get to spend quality time together and teach them something new.
8. Emergency Kit Care
It may seem trivial, but people don’t always take the time to put together an emergency kit for their car or home. Show a loved one you care about their safety by putting together a bad-weather emergency kit for their home or a car emergency kit.
9. Bake or Craft Something Special
They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and this is especially true during the holidays! Making their favorite dessert and serving it on a nice plate or in a special dish is a gift that will keep on giving long after the holidays are over.
10. All-Purpose Gift Card
When all else fails, go the gift card route. Major credit card companies make gift cards that can be used like cash at almost any store. These cards are the perfect gift for that very particular someone who, given the choice, would prefer to pick out their own gift. Pick one of these cards up at most any supermarket or convenience store.
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What simple gift ideas do you rely on to make family and friends happy this season? Share them with us in the comments below. Happy gift-hunting!