Giving Great Gifts

Gifts are not about how much you spend.

You’ve probably heard, “It’s the thought that counts.” That’s a true statement but one that many people forget when they head into the malls to shop. With the added pressure for people out of work, those struggling to pay bills and many with credit card debt that’s already through the roof, it would be irresponsible to spend hundreds of dollars. Be honest with your friends and family; let them know that this year will be a little light. Focus instead on finding things that are low cost but meaningful. Expensive gifts aren’t always the best gifts. Sometimes giving a “simple” present that touches upon an inside joke or intimate detail will work wonders.

Research suggests that experiences make us happier than possessions. That’s because when you get used to seeing something that you own every day, your initial elation over the object fades away. Experiences, by contrast, still give pleasure as you remember them. Try giving the gift of an experience this year.

If you give cash or a credit-card-sponsored gift card that can be used anywhere, your friend may be tempted to use it on groceries or gas or some other necessity. However, if you give a gift card that must be used at a particular store, restaurant or entertainment venue, it may eliminate the guilt a person would feel about spending money to treat herself or himself.

Whatever the gift, focus on the meaning of the season and appreciate getting to spend time with your friends and family.