I have pretty much since starting a household of my own tried to look ahead through the year of gift giving and find things for people to later give as gifts. I can't say though these have always been particularly creative or with a thought towards the recipient, more practical, or at least usable, bought for half or less than retail. Once in a while I really hit the mark for the person and got a great deal. I try to mix the deals with gifts I specifically have in mind for the recipient, hopefully giving a meaningful gift that didn't blow my families budget. DD2 received many gifts for use in her dorm room come fall like a two way vanity mirror, a hair dryer (we share one now), a new body pillow and pillow cases, a desk organizer, and a cute doggie photo frame so she can take pup along. All these gifts, which seemed like massive haul to her came in under $35 total, and I think she was quit pleased.
One of my sister-in-law's has a good knack for picking out gifts. Even though I'd like to get away from drawing names for gift giving for adults, I admit I've gotten some pretty terrific things over the years. She knows my fondness for coffee and big white coffee mugs and this year found the cute mug above, with a pound of beans. Several years ago, I'm not sure how many now, she gave me these Mukluk slippers. Let me tell you, these are perfect for the cold mornings and nights, with a rubber sole that let's me step out on the porch and on the side walk quick to take pup out in the morning. I'll give another kudo to DH for the Sherpa blanket, also in the picture, helping me stay cozy while nursing my cold and blogging. I first thought," what do we need another blanket for" when he gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. Well, both girls loved it; we gave one to DD2 for her January birthday, and it is my favorite one for cuddling with a book, a rare nap, and in the car.
DD1 is a great gift giver. She was overly generous this year, feeling like she now has a job that is paying her closer to her goals, she splurged. DH is the ultimate hot chocolate person-loves rich and chocolaty hot drinks when the weather is cold. He raved about the hot cocoa served in the B and B our last chili weekend in France, claiming that it tasted like a Ghiradelli chocolate bar melted in milk. That young women tracked down on line a massive box of Ghiradelli cocoa packets after not finding any in stores. He has been stretching out and savoring them since Christmas. This is just a small example, but she's the kind of person that gives sincerely, with thought, and often helping the person relive a memory or experience, or giving a new experience-like my yoga mat and registering me for a class with her.
We are on a tight budget for the foreseeable future. After college comes hopefully the ability for DH to retire or semi retire. Still, while we are part of a gift giving culture and family, I want to do better, give more sincerely, with more thought to the person as well as to the price point. I tried to do that with the gifts bought after Christmas for niece and nephews. I'll still look for and buy on sale the useful and supplemental gifts, though try to make sure they are products the recipient will actually use. That was part of my post Christmas shop as well. More so, I'll keep a running list in my head, as well as in my notebook, of who I shop for so as I come across interesting and particular items, I'll know if they are a fit. What's your approach to gift giving? Do you feel like you have a knack for it? Is it a stress point in sometimes or often overspending, or do you have the budgeting down to an art?