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How to be a Thoughtful Gift-Giver Without Going Broke

We’ve all heard of the old-fashioned Secret Santa and White Elephant that are often seen as anxiety-ridden portions of the upcoming winter season. Affording gifts for all the people you love can seem like a daunting burden. So, this holiday season, I’m here to let you in on some clever ways of being a creative gift-giver (without breaking the bank, of course).


Nothing Over $5

As a person who hates it when people spend money on her, I started a gift-giving tradition among friends called “Nothing Over Five.” It is precisely what it sounds like—no gifts over five dollars. Here are the fine prints to that rule though: the present cannot be a food item and it needs to be unique to the gift-receiver. It was my way of forcing my friends to give thoughtful gifts while also not spending much. I have gotten cat socks before and let’s face it; we’re adults now, there’s nothing wrong with getting socks for Christmas.

Bad Holiday Cards

Don’t you think it’s cliche and boring that everyone gets nice, cute little holiday cards every year? Here’s a thing that my friend Elsa and I are trying out this holiday season. Our goal is to find the worst Christmas card possible and give to the other person. Whether there be a sexual innuendo, bad graphics, or typos in it, I purposely want to find the worst card to give. That’s right; I’m making my friend’s life miserable by asking her to run around New York City looking for a bad Christmas card to give me. Elsa has been complaining to me about how difficult it is to find a horrible one in the sea of bright, fancy Hallmark cards. This is perfect for the new friends that you have met this year and don’t know well enough to give a fully thoughtful gift. Remember folks; it’s the thought of the gift (and in this case, the journey of how the gift was obtained) that matters.

Pool Your Money

Do you really want to get your friend that $100 Fujifilm Instax Polaroid camera? Well, I do hope you have enough mutual friends who can chip in some money to get that camera as a joint gift. Gift-giving always brings up the dilemma of buying what you can afford and buying what your loved one deserves. We are very giving people and we want our friends and families to feel loved and appreciated. So, if you really want to get them that big gift they’ve always wanted, consider finding mutual friends or family members to group up and pool money with so you guys can put all your names on the gift tag.

[Feature Image by Pexels]

Lily Yonglin Chen is currently pursuing both her bachelors and masters in psychology at The New School. When she is not analyzing your every move, she is busy running around New York City with a camera and a giant appetite. She is hungry for knowledge, experiences, and most importantly, food. She hopes to connect and comfort her readers through her writing and personal experiences. She is looking to attend law school after undergrad.
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