Life Simplified: Easy Christmas Gifts

As December rolls around, life gets inevitably hectic. Lazy weekends and blissful shopping trips are traded for multiple holiday parties, bargain-hungry crowds and an overbooked family. Add in the stress of finding the perfect Christmas gift and you have a recipe for disaster.

Finding a Christmas gift does not have to shoot your stress levels through the roof. First, throw out the notion of a perfect Christmas gift, knowing that there isn’t such a thing. Take a cue from these tips below to score a great gift without breaking the bank and stressing too much.

Gift Cards

It sounds lame and to many people it feels like a cop-out, but gift cards are the best gifts. Instead of wondering what size of sweater your wife wears and if she likes the color purple, you can give a gift card so she can pick out what she really wants. (Plus, she won’t have to feel the guilt associated with wanting to return a gift.)

Almost any retail store or restaurant offers gift cards, which allows you to cater to every taste on your shopping list. Worried about picking the wrong store? Many shopping malls offer certificates valid at any of its stores. If you are worried, snag an Amazon gift card, which gives the recipient almost endless possibilities. Just make sure that your gift card does not have an expiration date so the recipient can spend plenty of time deciding what to purchase.

Food

People love to eat. So why not give the gift of food? In addition to restaurant gift cards, recipients love to receive something to eat. This gift is perfect for people you want to recognize but do not want to spend a lot of money on. Added bonus- it won’t collect dust or clutter a bookshelf. Win, win.

Easy food items can include jam, homemade candies (caramel and fudge) or bread. Wrap it in cellophane, tie with a bow and you are in business.

Experiences

This gift might require a little more thought, but it is much better than some old sweater. One of my favorite gifts to give is an experience. Have a risk taker in the family? Buy a pass to go skydiving, hang-gliding or zip-lining. An over-worked wife? Grab her a day at the spa or just a pedicure. Sure, the gift isn’t immediate, but it is an experience the recipient will appreciate and might often purchase for themselves.

Other great experiences could include a jeep tour, cooking class, a massage or photography class. In most cities, you can find classes for almost any hobby. Thoughtful, yet easy gift.

Donate to Charity

After buying meaningless and cheap gifts in a family gift exchange, we decided to make a difference instead. We pooled the money we would have spent on each other in the family gift exchange and donated the money to our local Sub for Santa program. The next year we donated to the food bank. The high you get from making someone less fortunate’s Christmas is better than you can ever imagine.

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