A Personal Touch: Quality Gift-Giving Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

December 20, 2014 - Christie C
What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve ever received? I would be willing to bet it wasn’t something store-bought — and most likely it wasn’t a gift card, either.
 
You might be thinking of something made especially for you: a hand-knit shawl for your wedding day, a poem, or a framed photo to commemorate a special occasion. Maybe you received a mix-tape (or mix-CD, depending on your age) years ago, with a custom compilation that you refuse to part with, even in this era of MP3 digital music files.
 
The holiday season is a frazzled time for many of us. And if you’re into giving gifts to loved ones, the “to-do” list can seem endless, making it tempting to resort to humdrum fallback ideas: a gift card for dad, another pre-packaged gift basket of lotion and bath gel for mom ...
 
It can be hard to take a step back and think, “What would this person really like to receive from me?”
 
Imagine the spark in your loved ones eyes if your gift or gesture is priceless — it is unique and can’t be bought in stores.  Not only can you create something meaningful — you can save money, too. And those savings can go directly toward your retirement savings.
 
Here are a few quick, fairly inexpensive ideas for gifts with a personal touch:
  • Print photos from a trip or other experience you shared with a loved one and package them in a themed photo album or scrapbook.
  • Do you have a creative flair? Whether it’s knitting, poetry, art, music, or woodworking, use your gifts to create gifts — even a small or handmade object can be more meaningful than something you could buy in a store.
  • Bake or cook a loved one’s favorite dish or dessert and package it in a container (e.g., a festive cake stand for your sister’s favorite coconut cake) that the person can keep.
  • Enjoy time and experiences with loved ones. Your gift could be taking your mom to brunch or accompanying your dad to see the latest sci-fi blockbuster, for example. (Give them a “coupon” for this experience so they have something to unwrap.)
Once you’ve saved money by creating at least a few gifts of your own — reward yourself by increasing contributions to your retirement account. Think of it as a gift to yourself in the future!

What are your favorite inexpensive, meaningful gifts to give and receive? AC: 1214-7529

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