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Top 5 Tricks for Personal (and Economic!) Gift-Giving

By Kristine Ramsbottom, Queens University

If you are like me, you have realized it can be difficult (and often expensive) to put together the perfect gift for the people you care about.

BUT, HAVE NO FEAR! Below are some ideas I have put together from my experience in getting quality and personal gifts organized in a pinch. And remember- it is often not the gift itself but the thought behind it that counts. This can be a useful insight when racking your brain trying to decide what to get your sister and her puppy, or your best friend who already has everything. Plus, the more thought put into something, the better you will be able to craft your gift on a shoe-string budget.

The Homemade Craft

Whether you are incredibly artistic or not, this is an economic and fun way to surprise friends with a thoughtful offering that does not need to drain your bank account. Think about what they like and how you could make it. From bath bombs to cards, and everything in between, most things can be made by hand, with supplies easily purchased from your drugstore or dollar store.

One of my personal favorites is the homemade candle. All you need is some candle wax, a mason jar and if you want to be fancy, add in some essential oils. Search how to make these candles on the internet- there are some pretty standard instructions that will give you beautiful homemade candles in less than 30 minutes.

The Gift of Experience

Sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to purchase an actual physical gift for someone. Whether you do not know their size, or favorite colour, giving the gift of a fun experience can easily remedy your situation. It need not be extreme (such as Skydiving) but can be as simple as a pair of movie tickets or entrance to a great local concert. This way you get to enjoy spending time together doing something fun that will not leave you penniless in the end.

Food and the Art of “Gift Cooking”

Food is always a great way to bring happiness to the table (pun intended). Even if you are not the next Top Chef, invite a friend over for their birthday/celebration/anniversary dinner and cook them something they like. You can even preface it with a home made “gift card” for one meal by chef YOU that they can redeem at a future date.

The Scavenger Hunt (aka Creating your Own Adventure)

Channel your inner cartographer and develop a map in your local neighborhood or school and lead your “giftee” to a fun surprise. Other options include leaving clues at different locations for them to find- just make sure they are not too complex or specific otherwise they will not be able to finish the hunt!

The Donation

This is another one of my top picks. Think about a charity that your “giftee” either supports, or incorporates something they would be passionate about. The idea here is that the amount does not matter, but the thought is really what counts. Make a donation on their behalf and present them with the slip in writing that indicates this. Not only is it personal, but it is unique, something you can’t really say about a gift card!