We all have that person on our shopping list: the person who has, literally, everything. For me, this impossible-to-buy-for person is my youngest brother-in-law. The guy really does have everything. He and his wife, my sister-in-law, are young professionals with a lot of money and not a lot of responsibilities outside of work. This usually means that they have the time – and disposable income – to buy the latest gadgets (they both bought an iPhone 5 the very first day it was available on pre-order), to go on vacations, to decorate their house. A few years ago, my husband and I sent them a really stylish wine cooler for Christmas, only to learn that they already owned one; the next year, we signed them up for a “Cheese of the month” club, but found out (seriously!) that they already belonged to something similar. Ever since, we’ve bought them a Visa gift card for Christmas and called it a day.
But sometimes, sending a gift card or cash to someone who “has it all” feels cold. Distant. Impersonal. Which is why this year, I’m rethinking my holiday shopping list to focus on personalized gifts at minimal cost.
For The Grandparents
Gift ideas for grandparents can be tough. My parents and my in-laws are both very stable financially, and really want for nothing. I can’t tell you the number of times one of them has said to me, “Don’t worry about a gift this year! We don’t need anything!”
And that’s true, to a point: they really don’t need anything.
This year, I’m designing photo calendars for both sets of grandparents. I’ll upload photos of my kids over the past year, create a calendar, and add important dates like anniversaries and birthdays. It’s a practical way to give the grandparents photos of the kids without cluttering up their (already cluttered) homes with more picture frames.
Cost: Thanks to discount codes, I’ll likely spend less than $15 per calendar.
For Nieces and Nephews
If I’ve learned one thing about children and gifts, it’s this: they loveanything that has their name on it.
Last year, I sent all my nieces and nephews personalized gifts that focused on this well-known fact. My husband used his jig saw to cut corkboard into large flowers and footballs. Then, we painted the corkboards and wrote the kids’ names on them. The result was an adorable board on which to hang photos or artwork.
Cost: About $5 per board. I saw something similar in last spring’s Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and they listed the boards for $39.99.
This year, my nieces and nephews will get more custom-made gifts. A few months ago, I found some amazingly soft pillowcases on closeout at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I bought them up, and gave them to a friend who has a really amazing sewing machine. She used the monogram setting to stitch the kids’ initials on to the pillowcases.
Cost: The pillowcases cost me $3 each; I paid my friend (who was reluctant to take my money, but I insisted) $20 to monogram the four items.
For Mom and Dad
I am a sucker for personalized gifts. I’ve got my kids’ faces emblazoned on everything from mugs to t-shirts (yes, I’m that mom). Last year, though, my husband surprised me with a custom-made gift I’d never considered: pottery.
He took my kids to a local pottery studio, where they painted Christmas tree ornaments and a large serving platter. All the gifts included my kids artwork as well as their hand and foot prints – another practical gift that holds a memory.
Cost: The cost to buy and decorate the platter cost $22; each ornament was $8.
And If You Must Buy a Gift Card…
At least make it more pleasing to the eye! After I sent my brother- and sister-in-law a plain old gift card last year, I learned about a website that lets you design personalized gift cards. You can upload a picture, decide on a dollar amount, and choose from either a Visa or store gift card. This year, my “I have it all” brother-in-law will still get a gift card, but it will come with a picture of his niece and nephew on it.
Reader, what are your favorite personalized gifts? How do you keep costs down?