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#59276 - 11/22/02 08:20 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
Lady Di
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 346
Loc: lynn, ma 01902

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What my family does is pick names, that would includes my brothers and sisters & the nieces & nephews that are out of school & working. We pick a name & buy for that family.

Ex: mom & dad = 1 gift for the house, present for each child.

If the family I get has a child over the age of 6, I get them a gift bag (basic essentials plus a book, couple of dodads). But its really relatively cheaper if you have a dollar store or buy 2 for $1.00, or clcearance sale.

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#59277 - 12/01/02 12:48 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
Fata Morgana
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/30/02
Posts: 36
Loc: NYC

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There are some great ideas here. I am having a tough time deciding what to do. Mr. FM got laid off after 9/11 and things are way tight. We are going to my parents in Portland, ORfor a week. We only see them once a year and it is alway a big to-do. It is also Mr. FM's birthday on 12/23 and we are doing Hanukah with his family right now. I have about a $1 to my name and I am having a panic attack. I keep making suggestions to my mom (who is the Head Cheese in charge of all things Holiday) about drawing names or imposing some kind of limits and she keeps delaying any decision. My brother is a grad student and is feeling the pain too. I guess I will just have to make a choice and deal with it. This is the most anxiety producing holiday in years.
_________________________
You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think.

Dorothy Parker

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#59278 - 12/02/02 12:10 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
cloonez
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/22/01
Posts: 71
Loc: Kingston, ON

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I love to go all out for Christmas, birthdays and all other gift-giving opportunities, but being a student means that I have to find ways to do that that don't involve massive amounts of money.

I'm definitely all about giving a family one gift. This year the family that I used to baby-sit for, and am still very close with is getting a Disney movie, microwave popcorn and popcorn seasonings. Instead of spending $20 on each of them ($100 total), I spend about $30, and I know they'll enjoy the movie, they'll spend some time together (even if they are watching the idiot box while they do it), and they'll appreciate the thought. Last year they got sundae toppings (hot fudge and caramel sauce, nuts and sprinkles), a fancy ice cream scoop and some pretty ice cream bowls, all of which added up to about $40. Generally speaking, if you can find a few inexpensive things along a common theme, and package it nicely, it comes off as a great gift, and the receiver knows that you've put in a lot of thought.

Homemade gifts are also great. I learned to knit last Christmas and made several of my friends scarves. The wool was fairly inexpensive, the knitting could be done while watching tv or listening to music, and I learned a new skill. Plus, the scarves turned out really well. Last year my brother made me a 3D checkers game, which remains high on the list of cool gifts I've gotten.

Essentially, the more thought that goes into a gift, the less important the cost becomes. One of the best gifts I've ever gotten was a "warm fuzzy" from my friend Andrea. Similar to the "I Am" box, it was a list of qualities about me she liked, displayed beautifully (she's an art student) and framed. During his own impoverished student years, my brother gave his girlfriend a cookie tin with a promise that it would be full of letters by the next Christmas (they lived in different parts of the country at that point), and wrote her gorgeous letters once a week for the rest of the year. I (obviously) didn't read the letters themselves, but B writes beautifully, and his girlfriend absolutely loved it.

As Deborah noted, photographs are another great way to put a lot of thought, and not too much money into a gift. A plain wooden frame can be found pretty cheaply, and then you can dress it up as you desire, and put a nice picture inside that you know the person would love. The family that I mentioned above gave me a picture of me with the two oldest kids when they were 2 and 3, building sand castles. They're now 8 and 9, and I absolutely love that picture, although I don't like being reminded of how much they're growing up. In my mind I still have to change J's (the eight year old) diaper before he goes to bed. A photo album or a scrapbook is also a really sweet gift. I gave one to my mother last year, and she was all weepy as she looked through it.

Finally, I'm a big fan of Christmas baking. Last year my friend Natalie gave me a 1L glass jar of dry cookie mix, with a recipe enclosed, which I found pretty exciting because it got me baking, and she dressed up the jar so that it was a gorgeous. (I'll love any gift that is wrapped prettily.) You can't go wrong with giving away cookies, brownies, fudge etc., as long as there's no food allergy, plus baking is fun and fairly easy.

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#59279 - 12/05/02 06:16 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
EL
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/09/00
Posts: 125
Loc: New York City, NY, USA

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I give out Christmas ornaments all the time, that's basically what all the people in my department in work are getting this year! I just hope that other people enjoy them as much as I do. I just love ornaments because when you put them on the tree each year you can think about who gave them to you or where they came from.
Everybody has put great suggestions in this thread. I might use the cleaning cupboards idea for my mom. And the theme gift for a family is a great idea! I might do that for the family I used to babysit for.
Good luck "gifting" everyone.

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#59280 - 12/06/02 11:18 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
NataliAnne
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 113
Loc: Montreal

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I love getting Chrsitmas ornaments as well. Every year a group of my oldest friends get together for a party and it has become tradition for everyone to bring an ornament (price limit $10 Canadian) that is wrapped up. We then play a little game to decide who gets which package (obviously you can't pick your own). Basically everyone picks a number out of a hat that establishes the order people get to choose. Person 1 chooses a package and unwraps it, person 2 then gets to choose a new package OR the one that was already unwrapped forcing person 1 to choose again (who can't take back their original choice), and so on until the last person gets their choice of all the ornaments. Its a lot of fun and everyone ends up with a nice keepsake to add to their own ornament collection that reminds us of our friendship.
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#59281 - 12/06/02 12:19 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
sunflwrpdx
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 330
Loc: Portland, OR

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Well, I started my Christmas shopping last night. Luckily, I've been doing some extra work for one of the lawyers in my office, so I can actually afford to buy stuff. I'm allowing myself $80 for presents and I think I can stick with it. I did some of my shopping at Powell's and got three gifts for less than $20. (Brand new "sale" books. Powell's has a lot of them and it's good stuff, like Dr. Seuss books and poetry collections, etc.)

So, the gifts will be small and inexpensive, but they will happen. I just hope people like them.
_________________________
If you don't risk anything you risk even more. -- Erica Jong

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#59282 - 12/06/02 07:30 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

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I'd have to agree on the photo gift idea... my brother and I did that for my dad's 75th birthday with a childhood photo of him and his dog... we had it scanned, touched-up, and enlarged from a beat-up old print and I framed it. It made him cry, he was so touched.

A couple of other things I've done: I've painted terra cotta pots in funky colors and given them with some potting soil and herb seeds to co-workers. If you put the bottom of the pot upside-down on the top of the pot, and tie it up with a pretty ribbon, you don't even have to wrap them... they look festive and gifty just like that.

I don't knit, but I have made scarves by buying really soft fabric and doing a bit of sewing. It doesn't take much, and you can buy fringe to sew into the seams on the ends, to make it look really cool. You can get stuff cheap on the remnant tables in fabric stores. Of course, you need a sewing machine for that...

If you have a natural foods co-op where you live, you might want to check out their bath and body products. The one near me sells fabulous scented bath salts in bulk, and you can get fun-looking jars to put them in for a couple of bucks. Add a ribbon, and you have an inexpensive, pampering-type gift.

I also like to check out the antique shops for oddball items. My brother collects antique beer stuff, and one year I found a whole case of Gettleman beer in its original wooden crate. Not just the bottles, but unopened, with this decades-old beer still in it. It was in the bargain basement of the shop ('cuz who else would actually buy 40-year-old beer?) and my brother thought it was fabulous. You can find all kinds of funky strange stuff for not too much money if you're willing to sift through a lot of junk.

My husband and my niece have taken to exchanging poems each year, which I think is really, really ultra-wonderful.

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#59283 - 12/10/02 12:02 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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I almost burst into tears in Borders tonight when I realized there was simply no way I could afford to buy everyone the gifts I wanted to get them.

I calmed down a bit, realized there were plenty of books that my family members would enjoy that weren't written in the past six months, and would therefore be available in paperback. That helped a little.

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#59284 - 12/10/02 02:11 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
Joss
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/13/01
Posts: 329
Loc: southern California

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Christmas is two weeks from today. Oh dear. I seem to have equated thinking about Christmas shopping with actually doing it. I planned on being crafty, but it seems that embroidering in my head is not the same as embroidering in real life.

I am having a hard time with the idea of one gift per person. Growing up, my parents showered us with gifts -- no one thing being very expensive at all, but a couple of stuffed animals, a few books, etc., so I feel horrible and chintzy when I think of just giving someone really dear to me only one gift. This is even though I kind of like receiving just one gift from someone else because it makes that one gift more special. Oh dear again.

I think everyone's ideas here are wonderful, by the way, and I think your family and pals are very lucky indeed.

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#59285 - 12/11/02 09:23 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
StephA
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 2744
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Just following up on the 'do something nice for someone' gift ideas...

My sister is going to burn me some mixed CDs. I am one of those people who buys CDs for that one song - now I have all these one-song CDs that take up space and that I don't listen to. If you have the technology, this is a great gift.

Or you could organize your family's lying-around photos into a comprehensive album.

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