Christmas is around the corner, your gift list is long, and your time and money are short. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to be the giver of socks, bubble bath, bottles of wine and boxes of chocolates.
Just don’t be that person.
To give original gifts doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.
Here are a couple of gift ideas for every budget that should make you a family favourite this year:
Three hours of your time. This will cost you effort, but no money. Offer to help cook, or to wash the dishes, or to babysit, or to do some shopping. Time is of the essence to most people this time of year, and an offer such as this one will be much more welcome than another box of scented soap.
A car valet. This is a treat which all drivers would appreciate. If the driver can’t take the car in for the valet service, see if you can help out.
A online store voucher. A wider choice you cannot possibly give. The person who cannot find something on this site they would like to have is probably no longer alive.
A gift-wrapping kit. Having to wrap a gift usually gives off a mad scramble in most households. Give someone a box that contains a sellotape dispenser, a pair of scissors, a few rolls of wrapping paper, and a few gift bags. This won’t cost you the earth, and it is really something most people need.
Cook some frozen meals. Anyone who is ill, or has a house full of guests, or has to work while the kids are on holiday will be enormously appreciative of a few simple frozen meals for the freezer. Have one large cooking session, label the meals, and deliver. This will earn you lots of Brownie points.
A schoolbook wrapping session. At the beginning of each schoolyear, all your friends with school-going kids have an insane day or three trying to wrap heaps of books for each child. This usually has to be done quickly. Offer an evening of your time and halve their load. This will mean a lot more than a box of chocolates.
3 sets of reading glasses. You can pick these up for cheap from bargain shops. If your friend wears reading glasses, give her a pair for the study, a pair for the bedroom and a pair for the handbag. No more scurrying around looking for her glasses, or having to borrow other people’s to read a restaurant menu. Just make sure you get the right strength – it’s more important to get it right than it is to deliver a surprise.
A set of plastic candle lighters. If you don’t smoke, matches are often in short supply in your home. These candle lighters are inexpensive, colourful, and can be used to light candles inside long candle holders – or even braai fires. Your risk of getting burnt, when lighting a braai fire or a candle that may be difficult to reach, is reduced when using these.
A lesson on PC shortcuts. Even people who work with computers every day can benefit from a few tips from someone in the know. And those who don’t work with computers every day, even more so. Over the years many people develop their own useful shortcuts. Many people’s PCs can do wonderful things they don’t even know about. Take an hour or two and share your knowledge.