Gift-giving on a budget

Gift-giving on a budget
What will they really appreciate?
By Debbie Dee

As we’re all aware, the easiest time of the year to blow your budget is December. Advertising has been great at making us think that the more we spend, the more love we show, but with people getting nervous about the state of the economy, perhaps it’s time to reconsider this line of thought.

The best way to approach gift-giving is to try to figure out what the gift recipient would appreciate. Classic budget gifts involve making things yourself: cookies, fudge, candy, or jarred cookie, bread, or soup mixes. They’re not especially complicated to put together, but they’re enjoyed. If you plan ahead, you can even make and bottle your own liqueurs, which often taste better than the store-bought versions. (When giving sweets or liqueurs, be sure your recipient is someone who will have use for such products.) Recipes for all of these can be found at online recipe sites such as or

Fun, artsy jewellery is another budget-friendly gift. A number of places in town carry such jewellery including the not-for-profit Powell River Brain Injury Society. (The proceeds of the  jewellery sold there will be put toward sending the creator to a  jewellery-making college program.)

For one-stop shopping, try giving books. Even if there are people on your list who are not readers, there’s bound to be something that would be interesting for them. An online search should produce a number of suggested reading lists to help you make your list. There’s even a reader-created website dedicated to advice about book-giving: Feel free to ask bookstore employees for suggestions.

Keep in mind the most important rule of gift-giving: don’t give someone a ho-hum gift just to give them a gift. Many special treasures can be afforded on a budget.

Other affordable gifts:

  • Magazine or website subscription
  • Charitable donation in the recipient’s name
  • Office supplies like fun pens, Post-Its or stationery
  • Whimsical or warm socks
  • Prepaid long distance cards
  • A variety of gift soaps
  • A gas card