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socks and cat

Looking for your gift suggestions

Well, it's that time again. I should preface this by saying that I don't celebrate Christmas. I'm not Christian or Catholic or whatever religion you're supposed to be to celebrate this holiday. So if it were up to me, I would buy gifts for no one (except maybe my SO, because who doesn't want another excuse to make the SO surprised and smile). But every year I fly my orphan self down to California for Xmas to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncle and 5 cousins. And it is frowned upon if I do not show up with gifts at least for the adults (they seem to let me get away with not purchasing gifts for the 5 college age cousins).

Every year I get them all the exact same thing, and I'm tired of it. I want to do something different this year and surprise them. Before I ask for ideas, I should mention that my grandparents and married aunt and uncle seem to be quite well off and therefore they do not actually need anything. I do have one widowed aunt who works 2 jobs to put her 3 kids through college, so she might actually need something but I don't know what. So every year it looks like this:

Grama & Grampa: Food gift basket from madeinwashington.com
Married Aunt & Uncle: Starbucks coffee gift basket
Single Aunt: Tea gift basket (she likes tea)

I'm ready for a change - please offer your gift suggestions. Charity gifts might be frowned upon, you know the ones that say X amount of money was donated to this charity in your name. Grandparent's gift should be in the $35 to $100 price range. Aunts/Uncles gifts in the $30 to $50 price range. Suggestions please!

Comments

I personally LOVE gift cards, receiving for sure, and giving to family, as I don't live close enough to know what they really want. They also have those gift credit cards that can be used for anything. If that doesn't seem acceptable, I would ask other family members, or the person directly. Buying for the Grandma's is superhard. One, I have my Mom buy her a gift cert for where she gets her hair done, and apparently, she really likes that.
I like this idea but I have a couple concerns. With my married aunt and uncle, the gift card will end up in my aunt's hands by default and the uncle will end up with nothing. At least when I was giving them coffee, I knew he got to enjoy the gift too. I would get him his own gift card separately but that would get expensive to buy two gift cards. A gift they can share would be more reasonable.

Also my Grandmother gives me money every year. So I feel like by only purchasing a gift card for her, I'm just giving the money back. I want to include something tangible with the gift card.
My Dad and step mom LOVE movies, so I often get them gift cards to movie theaters, or local restaurants, as there are chains who sell stuff up here that is down in CA, where my family is--maybe that would work for the couple. Good luck with Grandma...
just an FYI - Costco had 2 movie tickets good for theaters EVERYWHERE! for only $15...so that saves you $5, and they are good everywhere.

I never know what to get my stepdad, so for his bday I got him the movie tickets since I know money is tight, and he cannot take my mom on a date, so I gave him two tickets, and $40 in cash so they could go on a nice date when my mom got back from Israel. :) They both enjoyed that!
Hmmmm. Considering that those who have everything don't need anything - try finding an *experience* they haven't had yet, or for a while. Do some quick homework on the web to entertainment relative to their address, and anything from a modest meal, movies, or local attractions can be a chance of pace. (as an offbeat example - I haven't been to the Seattle Aquarium since I was a kid. No idea what's going on in there or the expansion that happened. Might be 20 bucks for two to get in, and I'd be thrilled that someone out of state thought to look that up and send tickets or something. There's gotta be something relative in CA that might be equivalent in the price range.) - they can afford what they want, but it's really impressive when you show the forethought of something less generic and that they can 'do' and remember vs. consume or clutter.

The other thing to consider is whether the past gifts were well-recieved, or simply... received. Fro the aunt that likes tea, maybe she looks forward to the annual basket. And you know what I'm going to say next - step up the tea by dropping by the Queen Mary Tea Room and sending some gourmet stuff (if you haven't in the past.)

Short of that, maybe even send them a hint ahead of time, and ask what their hobbies, interests, or needs are over the past year, and use those as guides.
In terms of the tea..... Adagio Teas is a site that most of my tea-loving friends have only great things to say about it.

http://www.adagio.com/

Some Ideas

Single Aunt: Exotic chocolates, or bath stuff--bath salts, fizzing bath things, and or fancy bath oils.

Aunt and Uncle: Find exotic coffee and chocolate, or books. Do they read? Or, if they are really big coffee drinkers find very nice mugs for them to drink out of.

Grandma and Grandpa: I'm at a loss. I would suggest more books, and/or food. If you go with food find something special. Do they have an ethnic food they really like? Or maybe a gift certificate to a really nice restaurant they don't normally go to.
Well for the men I always tell people to give them a really nice Swiss Army knife. Which sounds really like corny but I received one and it's like the most useful thing I own. Too bad they don't have an Amazon wishlist. My dad is very well off but I sometimes get him stuff from his past. Like one year I got him a book that was from his hometown in Germany with really old photos in it. I am not sure if your grandparents or Aunt/Uncles are the sentimental type or not. Maybe something from the Vermont Country Store http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/Shop they have a lot of older items or stuff you can't get anywhere else.
I make everyone presents every year. I find people respond so much more to my gifts then they ever did before because instead of just buying them something I took time to create something for them. There are so many things easy to make too and either can or else craft that are pretty simple to do. You enjoy doing such crafty stuff too so I imagine it would be right up your alley!