Freshman Five: Last Minute Gifts on a Budget

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Christmas is right around the corner - literally! Although I was able to dodge the bullet, I have heard from quite a number of people I know that some of their packages have been delayed or lost in the mail. Rather than simply giving a card to say "Oops, sorry your present will be late!", there are a few smaller, alternative presents that can be thrown together relatively quickly. I'm not going to lie, I've used these ideas as main presents before, but mostly because I found things that just really fit their personalities and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get it for them.

Event-in-a-Basket // Whether for Movie Night or Girls' Night, putting together an event-in-a-basket is an easy gift that everyone is sure to love because they are so easy to personalize. I decided to do one of these for one of my best friends this year because I just couldn't find/find out one thing she would really like. I got her some of her favorite seasonal sweets, quite the variety of nail polishes, and a few little extra touches. This is really a great gift in general - for Theatre Geek's 18th birthday, I gave him a "You're an Adult Now" basket.

Mini Stockings // I love stocking stuffers. The little Target aisles filled with holiday things? I live there. In junior high and high school, I would get mini stockings, glittery Chinese boxes, or adorable mugs and fill them with little random (and still fabulous) things. I usually bought two or three types of individually-wrapped candies, stickers, some party blowers, festive pens or pencils, and once I even found the most adorable colored paper clips! There are just so many possibilities, that making these presents is always a blast.

Memories and Mementos // I'm a huge advocate for meaningful presents; they are the first type of presents I try to look for. On a smaller, last-minute scale, there are plenty of options, just look for something that they may have mentioned once or twice, or that represents a treasured memory. One of my favorites is making a picture collage from pictures taken either over the years (or that year specifically) and framing it. The first time I gave one of these was when one of my friends was moving and she absolutely loved it.

Amusement and Laughter // I'm not exactly sure why, but every time I think of the words amusement and laughter, I think of board games. When I was growing up, my family wasn't very big on board games, but I really love them! Give a friend or family member a gift that is sure to make them feel like a little kid again and laugh like crazy. If there's time after all the presents are open, them may even crack open their new game and voila, entertainment and bonding. My personal favorites are Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble, but there are so many different ones out there.

Essentials // Essentials are, well, essential. They are fun and usually easy to find, and everyone always loves them! The options are endless from wallets to scarves to graphic shirts, etc. I do have to say, however, that my favorite one to give and receive are socks. Now don't leave me just yet - have you seen all of the crazy socks out there? I recently found out they make socks with prints of basketball players on them and instantly grabbed a pair for a sporty friend of mine. An added bonus is that because a lot of people don't realize what great presents they can be, the socks you give could be the most creative present they get that season!

Christmas is a time of giving and appreciating all of the people and blessings in our lives. It's not all about the presents, but more about what they mean. Hope some of these ideas are helpful!

Catch you next time.

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