People are scrambling and stressing to figure out what to do for the holidays. Many are having financial difficulties and the holidays are looking a little bleak because they just can’t afford expensive gifts. You can still have a wonderful holiday by coming up with a few unusual gifts.
1. Pay Someone’s Bill: If you know someone who is having a really hard time financially, pay some money on one of their bills. A lot of people are behind on utility bills such as heat, electric, phones and internet service.
These companies may not tell you how much they owe, but they will be glad to take your money and apply it to the bill. Only do this for a very close friend, or one of your adult children. The idea is to help, not offend. Put the receipt in a card so that they know where the money was applied.
2. Forgive a Debt: Does someone owe you money? Perhaps they haven’t been able to pay you and have been stressing over it. Give them an unusual gift for the holidays by forgiving all or part of the debt, depending on the amount that they owe. They will be grateful that some of their financial burden is being relieved, therefore giving them a better holiday.
3. The Gift of Time: Are you handy at something that someone needs done? Perhaps an elderly person has spoken of wanting some painting done, or a carpet shampooed. Print a certificate on a computer that states what service you will perform for them. They may have not been willing to ask you to help them, but they won’t turn down a gift.
4. The Gift of Transportation: If you know someone who relies on public transportation to get to work or around town, check with the transportation service to see if you can purchase a supply of tokens. How many you purchase, depends on how much you are willing to spend. A week’s supply or a month’s supply of bus, metro link or trolley tokens will be appreciated and useful.
5. Buy a Load of Wood: Does someone you know rely on wood to heat their home, either with a fireplace or wood furnace? Have a load of wood delivered to their home with a big red bow tied to it. They will appreciate this unusual holiday gift, especially if they usually cut, split and stack their own wood! You have given them the gift of heat, plus some free time!
6. A Clean Car for the Holidays: Cars can become a mess during the winter if you live in an area where salt is placed on the winter roads. The salt should be washed from the cars on a regular basis, but some neglect to do this because of the cold or the expense. Purchase a gift certificate from a local automotive detail shop to present to a car owner.
7. Specialty Store Gift Cards: Have you ever heard a friend or family member say they would love to shop in a certain store, but it was just too expensive for them? Purchase a gift card from a store you know they would love to shop at, but they don’t because they can’t afford it. Even a book store is a good idea, especially if the person loves to read, but has chosen to get books from the library because it is cheaper!
8. The Gift of Seeds for the Holidays: Many online seed and plant venues will send out a catalog and will issue a gift certificate to be used in the spring. If you know an avid gardener this unusual holiday gift will give them the catalog to look at to brighten the long winter days, plus they will look forward to using their certificate once their choices are made!
9. The Gift of Knowledge: This may sound silly, but think about people you know that have said they would love to take a class in something! It could be as simple as a dance class, a pottery class or as detailed as an ongoing computer class. Paying for a class might sound like an extremely unusual holiday gift, but the recipient of this gift will use this knowledge forever!
10. The Gift of Family Roots: More people are becoming interested in finding out their family’s history. Amateur genealogists search the internet for clues, only to come across sites that have information, but want them to have a paid membership to display it. Ancestory.com is such a site.
Some either will not pay the price or cannot afford it, even though they would like to sign up. If you know someone that enjoys searching this type of information, sign them up to one of the many family history sites. You’ll give them an unusual gift for the holidays that they can use for a full year!
The point is to think outside the box when looking for holiday gifts this year. Money is tight everywhere so make sure your gift is something the recipient will really use, or really wants, before you purchase it. The most expensive gift in the world is a waste of money if the person neither needed it nor wanted it.