Now of course, I have given quite a few lame gifts in my day, but at holiday I try to not be that person (anymore). At some point I decided that I was going to either to be the best, most creative gift giver or nothing at all. (yes, I am black and white like that) And to be clear, I happily wrap them in the cutest paper ever, and afterwards I totally self-loathe what a crazy, over-the-top holiday person I am. (Because I am conflicted between the Who in Whoville, and the inner Grinch)
With that said, I don’t stop the Whoville efforts, because ultimately I want to be shiny and give the most I can give at Christmas. Which to my wacky brain means– gifts, lots and lots of gifts. Many happy-smiles-on-their-faces gifts. (I would like to point out that my pastor has given enough sermons about being present over giving presents, that I should have a different mindset. #blesshisheart )
Putting aside all my crazy, there are few ideas I can share with you to make your standard issue gifts feel more magical.
Build a holiday gift inventory
This sounds cray-cray but quite literally I walk around stores grabbing cute things under $20 as early as Halloween. This includes plates ideal for cookies, yummy packages of chocolates, candy, or pretzels and of course any alcohol on sale that is gift worthy! (mainly champagne or good bottles of red wine on sale). If you are in direct sales, this could mean taking advantage of a friends and family sale, or special deals that come up. (like 50% off hand creams, candles, jewelry, etc).
Early bird shopping is actually a great practice for a working parent, since they can take their time to get things and deal with the wrapping stuff later. I know many working parents that end up running around with list in hand first, and then they look for the “perfect” gift. It stresses them OUT. And that’s when they too, leave Whoville, and Grinch it out over some red wine later, “Why does everyone have to get the principal a gift? Why the hell can’t we just stick to the basics?!” Gulp. GULP. (Because we all secretly want to wear the super mom cape, despite it’s detriment on our mental state at times)
It’s like your Christmas savings plan. (saving your sanity in the long run) Do yourself the favor, go into your 2019 calendar, right this moment and pick Nov 1st as the day to remind yourself to start collecting inexpensive gifts. Don’t forget to add in the notes somewhere, “Don’t Brush it off! Yes you can’t think about Christmas right now! DO.IT.ANYWAY.”
Make a list, check it twice
Once you have an inventory of gift giving amazing, then write down all those in life that need a gift of thanks or a gift in general.
- Teacher/School Staff
- Nail lady
- Cleaning Team
- Hair Dresser
- Brows/Eyelash person
- Therapist (don’t make fun- this is legit in some lives)
- You get the idea
Ideas for cute holiday gifts
Thoughtful but Easy
Holiday plate (like a Rae Dunn plate), and some fresh cookies. Perfect gesture for an office staff that you see all the time, like your kid’s Orthodontist/Dentist, since they were so nice to you the seven times you had to come back due to a bracket or wire issue, lost/broken mouth piece, or for talking your kid off the ledge when they had to do a procedure. Great for school administrators too. These types of plates are everywhere so grab 2-3 early, and as for the cookies? Refrigerated cookie dough. Bake the night before or even 30 minutes before you leave.
The giving tree. It’s a classic, and my favorite for teachers. You find a dollar bin tree, and you attach gift cards to it, and any other decorations would feel makes it festive.
Expensive Red Wine, and I mean $30 + . Cab, Pinot, Malbec, Zinfandel. Great for co-workers, hostesses gifts, your favorite Uncle, and carpool friends. (they need the wine for sure, for putting up with your kid goofing around/text messaging/gossiping in their car)
Build your own ornament. Except put cash inside. We do this for the kids now they are less interested in toys. EASY PEASY. But also a great idea for sitters, cleaning staff, office plant staff, etc.
Handmade mason jar floral arrangements. If you have a Trader Joe’s or other market that sells mixed greens, then pick up 2-3 bunches of greens, and add in stems of berries or white roses. Add a nice ribbon, handwritten card and Boom. Grandmom is done. Optional: add a gift card to their favorite store.
Giant Candy at Michael’s or World Market. I mean like over-sized candy that is definitely going to make a statement. Nephews/Nieces, Cousins, Kids in the Carpool, BFF’s kids, etc.
Pre-packaged food items such as chocolates, pretzels, gourmet popcorn, etc with a card. Optional: add a little gift card or cash to make it a bigger gesture. I personally like doing this for anyone that provides service, such as cleaning team, an after school teacher, nail/hair person, dog walker, etc. Plus this is the easiest thing to grab for those moments when someone give you a gift that you weren’t expecting. Optional hostess gift as well.
Most schools sell these as fundraising ideas, but it’s something you can do on the cheap, as a nice gesture than a gift. Grab a bunch of packages of candy, tape a personal holiday greeting to the package. Hand out. I do this for my daughter. This year was peppermint Pop Rocks. She handed out to a bunch of friends, and now I don’t have to put her extended friends that I barely know on my holiday card list. Also works for a large office staff that you want to extend a greeting to, but not a $20 per person holiday gift.
Stay in Whoville
I know that holiday gifts seems like an undertaking, but starting early with these items saves you time and mental load in the end. Giving you more time to focus on the perfect gifts for the kids and the family. And the cookie decorating, and the crafts, and the parties, and the…well, everything they do down in Whoville.
For more Ideas on Holiday Gifts, Crafts, Home Decor or DIY, follow my Pinterest board to see what I am pinning all year round.