No need to go overboard during the holidays or when birthdays, new apartments and babies come along. Your family and friends will appreciate practical gifts that fill a need and lift a financial load from their shoulders. Get creative with otherwise simple items to create unique and easy gifts anyone can appreciate.
Forget houseplants. Give the gift of cleanliness by purchasing a bucket and filling it with household cleaners, rubber gloves, sponges, paintbrushes, magnets, nails and duct tape among other new home must-haves. They will love your personalized coupons for help painting a room, planting a garden, or rearranging the furniture.
Best Baby Blanket Bindle
Diapers are great gifts, but, if you’re not talented enough to string together your own diaper cake, you can still be creatively practical. Use a baby blanket or cloth diaper to create a bindle on the end of a long-reach gripper (because you know a new mom can’t climb on counters to reach those top shelves while holding a newborn). Stuff the bindle with baby-safe cotton swabs, Aquaphor cream, socks, a breastfeeding reminder bracelet, a good book, and some customized babysitting coupons. You can sweeten the bundle with a certificate to a local photographer for newborn photos.
Up and Away Bouquets
For a birthday, create a balloon bouquet with a balloon for every year. Inside each balloon, stuff coupons, memories from the last year, or inspirations for the new year. You could even stuff some balloons with cash or certificates to local restaurants or stores. Stuff some with subway tokens, quarters for the laundromat, or condoms.
Birthdays, anniversaries, and retirements are a great time to gift services like landscaping, snow plowing, gutter cleaning, and housekeeping. You can pay someone else to detail the car, or your can pitch in one of your Saturdays to do it. Maybe you are a particularly talented organizer and could donate some time to help clean out the attic, basement or garage. Or, perhaps you can volunteer to digitize their photo albums and create a DVD photo slideshow.
Send Them Packing
Send your recent graduate off to college with a backpack or milk crate of gifts including bed sheets, towels, sanitizing wipes, cotton swabs, soap, potato chips, granola bars, and instant coffee. Some extra pocket cash stashed in a new pair of warm socks will fill two voids in one, pleasant surprise. If your recent grad is kicking off a brand new career, put your gifts in a briefcase or laptop bag. Get pens: one quality set for client engagements and many spare ballpoints. Consider adding a certificate for a resume service and a personalized job-hunting guide full of advice from family and friends.
Fill up a 5- to 10-gallon bucket with a bag of rice, beans, bottled water, blankets, canned goods, a compass, a pocket knife, can opener, candles and waterproof matches. These emergency preparedness kits will come in handy during severe weather conditions or other disasters. Additional add-ins might be area maps, crank radio, a pup tent, rope and tarp.