Cool Gift Idea

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Loth's thread on grocery shopping on amazon sparked this idea for possible gifts for next Christmas or other holidays. It would also be a way to really spread the cost of gifts throughout the year.

    We each have food and gadgets that we really like and/or find really useful. Sometimes we see them on those deal-a-day websites, or at the checkouts, etc... or we have used them for a long time and don't know why everyone doesn't have and use one, Know what I mean??

    Why not buy several of these items when you see them or buy one for yourself, and keep them in a bin or box until they are needed? Then make a nice basket or box of all of YOUR favorites for your loved ones? If they already have the item, another one can be realy handy to have on hand. If they haven't tried one, they can enjoy it as much as you do. Heck, if the whole family uses it maybe give them the item labelled clearly for Mom or Dad so that the kids are less likely to walk off with it (and get away with walking off with it, lol!).

    Even grabbing 2 or 3 tins of Altoids or somesuch to put aside can be a nice item to add. It lets them see that you really thought of them all through the year and they will think of you each time they use it. The items do NOT have to be expensive or fancy or even pretty. Just a way to share things you enjoy and/or rely on with those you love.

    For kids or distant loved ones, if you include a scarf or gloves you like or something on that line you can tell them that each time they wear it they are getting a hug from you. My parents did this when we lived far away and I could see it on Wiz' face each time he put his hat on that he was thinking about Gpa and Gma hugging him - and him hugging them back!

    I know that we are just past Christmas, facing the bills that we now have to pay and that we are NOT thinking of gifts again. Likely you don't want to think of them for quite a while to come, lol - especially not the cost of them! It is for just this reason that I suggested this. We can decide if we want to spend the same amount next year. We can also keep our eyes open for deals on items that will hold until next year or whenever we need them - it is one of the best ways to keep the cost of gifts in check!

    A handy tip - keep a list of what you have already purchased in your calendar or organizer (not where the whole family can see, of course). That way you won't end up with 12 of something by purchasing 2 or 3 each time you see it. Memo functions on cell phones and smart phones can be really great for this. I often make a fake contact and keep the list linked to it. It is easier to find this way, in my opinion.
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Great post! I was thinking the same thing for this coming year. My foster mother does this all year. She laughs she is usually done all of her shopping by June. She has a "gift closet" that she stores things in and she tapes a few sheets of paper to the inside of the door with her list of what all is in there and who it is for. The list is arranged by people she is buying for by name, and she fills in blanks next to them when she's found a gift and put it in the closet.

    I don't have a closet but I did get rid of a ton of stuff lately so have 2 large rubber maid storage bins with lids. I asked S/O to put them in the front of our storage space to ensure easy access. I'm going to draw up my list of names and tape them to the inside lid.

    I've found all kinds of deals this past year for myself and I wonder now why I didn't do as you said, buy extras for gifts. I'm totally going to do gift baskets this year I think with just the type of things you mentioned!

    This year I have been coupon'ing a lot and using them during store sales. I've gotten those gorgeous glade scented candles for under $1 a piece. I've found gorgeous masks from Africa marked down 90% off during a store closing out sale. I've gotten gourmet dog treats for free with coupons, same with cat toys and treats.

    I'd love to hear of things people might find for more ideas of what to keep my eye out for when I'm shopping. I don't plan to make special trips to look for gifts but I'm going to for sure keep my eyes peeled for good deals, end of season sales, etc. My favorite find this year was 3 watches. Not fancy ones, just pretty costume jewelry type watches at a local woman's clothing store. They have a habit of putting their older watches on discount on the counter when they get new stock. They were regularly $40 and I paid $2.99 per watch. I also have found all kinds of neat things for teens. Nintendo DS stylus packs (5 per pack) for $1.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I now have the kids trained to go through the clearance sections each time we go to the store. If they are just with husband they often don't go because he can get grumpy with them (not with me :bigsmile:). They don't even spend their own money unless they know that the price is good - they even check online and for used items of many things. I have found great items at garage and estate sales too. Last year I splurged for my mom's birthday and spent $25 on a porcelain cardinal from one of the big name companies like Lenox (not that brand but that high quality). My gma, her stepmom, adored cardinals. Almost every single Christmas card had a cardinal on it and she just loved to watch them. The bird was at an estate sale and I got it for 20% off - then looked it up online and it was worth 10 time the $$ I paid - literally! I thought about keeping it, but Capn Morgan is really hard on things - LOVES to knock stuff off of shelves and is obsessed with birds. My mom has display shelves that her cats cannot get to and she LOVED it. Esp with the note about Gma that I wrote.

    I keep an eye on and fairly regularly. Every day is something different and both of those companies have 3-4 other, linked sites that each sell 1 item. I got our flatware from - place setting for 12 for $19.99 plus $5 shipping. It is a line sold on QVC and is pretty and NICE. It feels solid in your hands, not like the flimsy stuff sold for that price at stores like Walmart. I just got a little speaker for Jessie (to put up) that is shaped like a little soccer player with a soccer ball for a head (she loves soccer). It was about $12 for 2 of them, so I can put one up for a gift. not only has 4 other sites, one of them lists deals on other sites. I found wireless headphones for a total of $8 including shipping. These deals listed on woot ( is the site with the other deals) have a discussion area where people put discount codes and often other companies give them special codes for people who watch the woot sites - I got $3 off the price of the headphones or they would have been $11.

    Biglots is a store with a lot of deals - esp if you find things in their clearance. This year they had bags of chocolate covered/dipped cookies (not always completely coated) that were a variety of different types of cookies. the brand is not well known in the US but I recognized it from an international food store we used in OH. 12 yrs ago I used to pay $5 or more for a bag of the milk chocolate kind, and $6 for the dark choc ones. I got a bag for Jess at Biglots for $2.60 for the dark choc ones! As a little kid I had to keep a close eye on Jess if we had the cookies in the house. The second time I bought them they disappeared - and so did she. I finally found her curled up asleep in her closet with a face covered with chocolate and a bag with just a few crumbs - we could see where she even licked the bag, lol!! her hair was pulled up into a tail on the top of her head and she looked like a little elf curled up on some blankets in the closet.

    If you want to do a neat gift for a guy, keep your eye out for inexpensive tools and hardware. You can use cable ties and stick-on velcro dots to attach them to a grapevine or styrofoam wreath to make a "guy" wreath that is also a gift. Flat washers can be painted with shiny or puffy paint or even acrylic paints to add colorful, cheap decorations. Dollar stores and the tool area of walmart and even of hardware stores often have screwdrivers, drill bits, hammers, wrenches, etc... for a dollar or two. They work really well on wreaths - or so the guys that I have given them to have said. Even if they have those tools, or have better quality ones, an extra one is often handy. If they don't want to use the tools they can keep them on the wreath for future years.

    Do you have Walgreens drugstores where you are? I don't know if they are in Canada. Here they have a LOT of sales and tons of coupons that they publish. If you buy certain items you get coupons at the register that are good for items or are good for $X off of future purchases. They usually expire in about 2 weeks but they are generally good for almost anything in the store. If you have this store it is a great place to watch for clearance stuff. I got fuzzy socks for Jess and a really neat ball for thank you for free using the register rewards to pay for clearance stuff. They have their weekly fliers and a monthly rebate book both available at the front of the store near the entrance.