family gifts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12862/all en-US How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_with_gift.jpg" alt="Child with a gift" title="Child with a gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&rsquo;t want to spend too much money on Christmas presents. But you don&rsquo;t want to act Scrooge-like or look cheap. If you have more than a few people on your gift list (and some of those are far-flung relatives), then showing generosity and staying within your budget can be hard.</p> <p>In Christmases past, I have given presents to my husband and our two children plus seven sets of siblings and in-laws along with nine nieces and nephews (a grand total of 26 people). The skills and patience required to pull off this feat often exceeded my capacity. Because we lived in different cities than all of our relatives, we weren't attuned to their day-to-day lives. Plus, the obvious approach of asking for a wish list didn't always give me the information that I needed, either because the intended recipient couldn't think of anything or because suggestions were difficult to find or out of my price range. Plus just asking for a recommendation seemed business-like and not in keeping with the holiday spirit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-gifts-for-a-family-with-many-children">Buying Gifts for a Family&nbsp;With Many Children</a>)</p> <h3>Discover Interesting Stuff About Your Family Members</h3> <p>Finally, I learned that a few strategic conversations and a dash of creative thinking can help transform the holiday season from financially stretched and stressful to modest and merry. This approach has also helped me to learn even more about family members than the usual facts surrounding college majors and professional titles.</p> <p>Probing for certain information will allow you to find or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">make something</a> that is within your price range. Start a conversation that gives you insight into new-found and long-time interests, recently discovered and ongoing needs, career goals, and personal plans of your family members. If you won&rsquo;t be talking with these folks soon, send an email or Facebook message asking a few questions about what is going on in their lives. You can make general chit-chat with family members or let them know that you are asking questions to help with your holiday shopping.</p> <h3>Use Your Bargain-Hunting Skills to Find a Great Gift</h3> <p>Responses to your questions will point the way to the right selection with moderate effort at minimal cost. Choose items among your favorite gift genres (that is, a book if you enjoy giving books, clothing and accessories if you like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-buy-discounted-designer-clothing-online">fashion</a>, food if you are a great cook) as you will know how to snag bargains in categories that you shop for regularly.</p> <h3>Personalize Your Gift-Giving Approach Based on Ages and Life Stages</h3> <p>Exploring interests and selecting gifts for children, teens, and adults of all ages can be challenging. Adapt your conversation starters to the age, life stage, and temperament of the gift recipient. Consider these approaches:</p> <p><strong>Children</strong></p> <p>Watching children open presents is a blast, but the work involved in finding the right gift can be overwhelming. Instead of researching what&rsquo;s trendy and what&rsquo;s taboo, have a conversation with parents about their children.</p> <p>To learn more about the children on your gift lists, ask questions like these:</p> <ul> <li>Does she play with ________ (fill in the blank with possibilities, such as Legos, Barbie, Star Wars, Hello Kitty, etc.)?</li> <li>What books does he like to read or look at?</li> <li>Does she like art?</li> <li>What activities is he involved in?</li> </ul> <p>Depending on the responses, gift possibilities may be a book in a favorite series like <em>Biscuit&rsquo;s Day at the Farm</em> or <em>Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever</em>; small toys like a Hello Kitty Windup Toy or a Star Wars action figure; or accessories for themed toys, artwork, sports, etc., such as a LEGO Building Plate, gown for Barbie, washable markers, easel pad, or compass for a scout. When buying gifts, consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-search-of-safety-a-moms-8-step-guide-to-toy-selection-and-everyday-use">safety issues</a>, abide by age guidelines printed on packaging, and avoid trinkets in favor of sturdier items.</p> <p><strong>Teens and Tweens</strong></p> <p>Finding gifts for teenagers and tweens is especially treacherous. Similar to the challenge with children, keeping up with teen trends is difficult. Plus, many in this age group tend to be unrealistic in their expectations and uncommunicative about their interests. They are not necessarily spoiled or dejected; they may not be able to judge what is an appropriate request and tend to be fuzzy on what adults in their lives may already know about them.</p> <p>To find a gift that doesn&rsquo;t involve expensive computer games, ask these types of questions:</p> <ul> <li>What book or book series are you reading?</li> <li>What are your favorite college teams or professional teams?</li> <li>What activities are you involved in at school, volunteer agency, etc.?</li> <li>Are you playing any sports?</li> <li>Do you have any major projects or big trips scheduled for next year?</li> <li>Hey, I noticed that you like ____ (fill in the blank with a favorite television show, movie, store, etc.) on your Facebook page; can you tell me about that?</li> </ul> <p>Books are among my favorite gift genres, so I like to buy the next book in a series (for example, <em>Inheritance</em>, the latest and last book in the Inheritance Cycle was published in time for holiday gift giving). Or, you might pick up a biography about a favorite historical or sports figure, a compilation of stories about accomplished teens, a book relating to career goals, or a guide to navigating middle-school issues.</p> <p>For teens who have enough to read already, pick up gear or supplies for a hobby, athletic endeavor, scout project, volunteer activity, etc. or something that they will need as they mature. A wallet to hold a driver's license and charge card, an extra-durable key chain to keep up with house keys, or a multi-use tool to perform minor repairs may be valued both today and years from now. Apparel of favorite sports teams, like t-shirts or gym shorts, may be suitable for some and especially appreciated by parents of growing teens and &lsquo;tweens.</p> <p><strong>Adults </strong></p> <p>Finding the right gift for a sibling, in-law, niece, nephew, etc. starts with considering the life stage of the recipient. Those who are in college and getting established in a new job will often have different needs from those who are settled in their homes. Either way, learning about their lifestyles, interests, and plans for the upcoming year &mdash; whether applying for graduate school, getting ready to start a new job, preparing for a family addition, or training for a marathon &mdash; can help influence your gift selection.</p> <p>Ask these types of questions to kick off a chat:</p> <ul> <li>What are your plans for next year?</li> <li>What are you reading? Who are your favorite authors? What topics interest you?</li> <li>What are your hobbies?</li> <li>What types of fitness activities do you participate in? What events are you getting ready for?</li> <li>Are you planning a trip next year? Where are you going? When? What will you do there?</li> <li>Are you going to learn anything new next year?</li> <li>I saw on Facebook that you are ______ (fill in the blank with interests); can you tell me more about that?</li> </ul> <p>Adults who are on the move could use some practical travel gear, suitable for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-gift-ideas-for-adventure-travelers">adventure travel</a>, treks to and from college and their hometowns, work-related trips, or moves for a new job. Traditional moving or travel items, like storage bins and duffel bags, may also be appreciated. Mostly, you want to avoid items that are difficult to lug from place to place. And, as much as I would like to suggest items that can be had for a bargain, gift cards and cash are especially well-suited for those who are in transitional stages. To control your spending, pair a $5 or $10 gift card (or cash) with an inexpensive but highly practical item acquired at your local <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/strategic-thriftstore-shopping">thrift shop</a>.</p> <p>Those who are more settled may enjoy something that suits their reading preferences. The latest book for a favorite author is a great choice though somewhat expensive; alternatively, find a title published earlier in the author&rsquo;s career, after you've checked to make sure that the recipient has not read the selection. Books from your local used bookstore, <a href="http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php">paperbackswap.com</a>, thrift shop, <a href="http://www.half.ebay.com/">half.com</a>, etc. show thoughtfulness and protect your pocketbook.</p> <p>Inexpensive accessories, consumables, or supplies for hobbies, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less">fitness activities</a>, and upcoming trips are great selections. These gifts can show others that you are thinking about them and have a genuine interest in their lives.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-give-kids-cash-for-the-holidays">5 Reasons Why You Should Give Kids Cash for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities">10 Great Gifts for Teachers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-last-minute-gift-ideas-for-under-15">10 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Under $15</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-baby-goodies-with-daily-deal-websites">Save Money on Baby Goodies With Daily Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less">20 Fitness Gifts for $15 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Shopping cheap gifts family gifts holiday gifts Mon, 12 Dec 2011 10:48:18 +0000 Julie Rains 816416 at http://www.wisebread.com Buying Gifts for a Family with Many Children http://www.wisebread.com/buying-gifts-for-a-family-with-many-children <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buying-gifts-for-a-family-with-many-children" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007021361Small.jpg" alt="Children with gifts" title="Children with gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After my last article on whether a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-a-second-marriage-be-celebrated-and-paid-for-like-the-first">second marriage and wedding</a> should be celebrated and financed like the first time generated some great discussion, it got me thinking about some similar situations we're confronted with. The most prominent topic that came to mind was children. We have three children, and we've already seen varying degrees of disinterest and complacency related to our youngest child compared to our first. We try to shield our youngest from these obvious snubs, and unless the kids were to hear us talking about it, they'd probably never know the difference. (I was the youngest, and I never picked up on it.) But there are some common experiences we've had with each subsequent child worth considering.</p> <h3>Baby Showers</h3> <p>When my wife announced her second pregnancy, her sister thought it would be nice to do a little luncheon with close family and friends. My wife felt a little uneasy about people buying gifts again so she asked that the key focus of the shower was to just get together and celebrate with some food and drink, but no gifts. As it turned out, they all chipped in to buy us a double stroller, which probably equated to about $10-$12 per attendee, so not a big deal. We didn't register again, and we didn't expect crazy baby-stuff. We already had it from our first shower! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-baby-shower">How to Build a Better Baby Shower</a>)</p> <h3>Christenings</h3> <p>We've now been through our third christening. Close relatives will usually give some sort of bond or cash, and friends give a smaller amount. By the time we had our third kid, I was wondering if there'd be some resentment that guests were now shelling out funds for the third time. At the same time, should a third child be &quot;valued&quot; or celebrated to a lesser degree just because of her birth order? For those around us, we've never decreased our gift amount based on birth order, but we did notice that by our third child, the total amount given was substantially lower &mdash; almost half. The reason this was so evident to me is after each christening, I cash in the bonds, take the remaining cash, and put it all into a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rethinking-the-529-college-savings-plan-strategy">529 account</a> for each child, figuring the returns are much higher there than with a low-interest government bond. By simply looking at the starting amounts that first year, our poor daughter didn't get off to a very good start &mdash; and we probably invited MORE people since we've picked up friends over the years. It's not that we're hurting for money (and I'll make up the difference in her college account anyway) but it's the principal.</p> <h3>First Birthday Parties</h3> <p>We don't force distant relatives and our long-time out-of-state friends to hike out for every birthday party each and every year, but we've always treated the first birthday party as a big deal. For each kid, I edited and produced a movie about his or her first year of life. We usually have activities for the older kids and great food. It's a pretty substantial celebration compared to the subsequent parties. By the third kid, is it reasonable to start giving smaller gifts? We don't treat others this way, but we've noticed our youngest didn't get the same attendance or gift-giving that our oldest did. I can understand where people are coming from. Three kids seems like a lot to other people &mdash; especially friends or family without a single kid! It just seems a bit unfair to the youngest, but like I said, I doubt the kids will ever know the difference.</p> <p>I tend to think that each life should be celebrated and just because a child is not firstborn, that doesn't make him any less important. For that reason, we always give the same amount for birthday parties, christenings, and other such occasions. Conversely, for a mom having her fourth kid or more, I'd think four or more full-fledged baby showers is over the top. See, mom got probably 75% of the stuff she needs at the first baby shower. Things like strollers, cribs, bottles, and all the stuff new moms don't even know they needed were given at that first shower. By kid four, statistically speaking, there's probably an older sibling of the same gender that can pass down clothing and toys as well. At that point, it's almost an exercise in getting &quot;stuff&quot; just for the sake of getting it, regardless of need or utility.</p> <p><em>What are your thoughts? Do you treat younger kids any differently? Should we?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-gifts-for-a-family-with-many-children">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-pregnancy-expenses">6 Ways to Save on Pregnancy Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-give-kids-cash-for-the-holidays">5 Reasons Why You Should Give Kids Cash for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping birthday parties child gifts family gifts Fri, 28 Jan 2011 13:36:17 +0000 Darwins Money 485694 at http://www.wisebread.com Unusual Gift Ideas for a Memorable Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/unusual-gift-ideas-for-a-memorable-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/unusual-gift-ideas-for-a-memorable-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-161145825.jpg" alt="family opening gifts" title="family opening gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year I struggle to find meaningful gifts for relatives that they will appreciate instead of adding to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household" title="Clutter-Free: The Zero-Accumulation Household">clutter of &quot;stuff&quot;</a> that they already own. It&#39;s a bit challenging, especially since I always intend to shop early in the year, but find myself rushing with a week left before Christmas. However, over the past few years I&#39;ve borrowed creative gift ideas from friends and relatives that most people would find refreshing compared to the store-bought &quot;hot&quot; ticket items that are often over-priced. These ideas range in price from practically free (depending on how you view your time) to more expensive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts" title="25 Awesome, Useful Gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</a>)</p> <h2>Hand-Crafted Coupon Books</h2> <p>As a teenager who was usually broke, I often had to think &quot;outside the box&quot;&nbsp;when it came to gift giving. I didn&#39;t have much money during my teen years, but I still wanted to show my parents and family members how much I loved them by giving them a gift they would appreciate. One of the best gifts my mother ever commented on was a coupon book that I hand-wrote containing everyday chores I would do for free. The coupons included a night of washing dishes, taking out the trash, and washing the car. Of course these days, my mother isn&#39;t looking for me to wash the dishes; she&#39;d instead prefer a visit!</p> <p>With so many stationery options and easy access to computer graphics, coupon books can still be an excellent and creative way for those short on cash to show their appreciation for close friends and family members. The coupons don&#39;t have to stop at cleaning or mowing; they can be used for spending time with each other or offering to babysit your friend&#39;s children so the parents can have a date-night out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p><strong>Price range per gift recipient:&nbsp;</strong>Free to minimal (depending on how much time you set aside).</p> <h2>Family or &quot;Group&quot; Gifts</h2> <p>Last year I finally appreciated a piece of &quot;junk&quot; mail I&nbsp;received in my mailbox. It was a coupon for an Omaha Steaks gift basket. For a reasonable price, I was able to send my sister-in-law and her family of five a delicious amount of steak and chicken along with a couple of side dishes, enough food for at least three meals. It was a gift I knew they would use and appreciate, and it wouldn&#39;t go to waste or end up broken within a week. I also saved money because it was a &quot;family&quot; gift versus five individual gifts.</p> <p>This year, instead of repeating last year&#39;s gift basket idea, I decided to purchase her family a membership to a place they enjoy visiting: the zoo. With two young children who need engaging activities over the winter and summer breaks, I felt this gift would be something their entire family could enjoy. Not only does it promote learning, it also promotes activity. Again, I saved money by purchasing a single gift instead of one for each person.</p> <p>Alternative family gifts could include memberships to museums or a gift certificate to a local performing arts center, depending on the family members&#39; preferences. Since the whole family can enjoy the gift, it reduces the amount of shopping stress and saves time for the purchaser, especially if the list of recipients is long.</p> <p><strong>Price range per gift recipient:</strong>&nbsp;Averages $16 to $50 per person (depending on the type of family gift and local membership options).</p> <h2>Personalized Memorabilia</h2> <p>One of my favorite gifts to this day is a wedding gift I received many years ago; it was a personalized keepsake box with our names and wedding date inscribed on the top. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift that I still cherish.</p> <p>There are plenty of stores dedicated to personalizing blankets, boxes, wine glasses, and clocks that make terrific gifts for family members, friends, and colleagues. However, a few months ago I came across a website, <a href="http://www.tynsysmiraclebears.com">Tynsy&#39;s Miracle Bears</a>, that sells &quot;Huggable Heirlooms&quot;&nbsp;that are quite personal. It&#39;s a gift that only a close family member would purchase for another relative: a teddy bear made out of a person&#39;s clothing who has passed away. At first it sounded a bit strange, almost bordering on morbid. However, once I&nbsp;read their customer letters and stories, I&nbsp;realized that these teddy bears could be purchased any time after a person has passed away. That got me thinking about my grandparents and how I&#39;d like a bear made out of my grandmother&#39;s blouse or my grandfather&#39;s Army uniform. I also thought about my siblings and how they might like one too. Since these bears are sewn out of the clothing of a lost loved one, I&nbsp;realized I was too late to order one for this Christmas, but it&#39;s something I&#39;ll look into for next holiday season, as I plan my shopping for earlier in the year!</p> <p><strong>Price range per gift recipient: </strong>$25 to $85 (depending on the personalized gift).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unusual-gift-ideas-for-a-memorable-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-gifts-for-a-family-with-many-children">Buying Gifts for a Family with Many Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-kitchen-dish-towels">The 5 Best Kitchen Dish Towels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-buyers-remorse">6 Ways to Avoid Buyer&#039;s Remorse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Christmas gift ideas coupon books family gifts Fri, 17 Dec 2010 13:00:22 +0000 Little House 394000 at http://www.wisebread.com