Gifts for Loved Ones

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

Tired of reading those articles where we are told that it is the thought that counts and that your loved one only wants something that comes from your heart?

Yeah, me too! Oops, did I say that? Oh no! Now I am going to get all of this hate mail about how much of a materialistic person I am! Blah blah!

Actually, there is a way to make your loved one feel loved for the holidays without going for broke. It’s going to take some imagination and energy on your part. But, hey, it’s worth it.

First, get real with yourself. What can you really afford? Sure you can use every penny you have to buy your loved one a gift but then one argument or a final notice invoice in the mail can make you feel like a sucker for spending more than you had.

Solution: Don’t do it!

Set yourself a comfortable budget and stick to it. Easier said than done. I know. But trust me on this one.

In my 37 years of life, the best gifts ever have been gifts that are personalized. For example, my family and I went to huge gathering of vendors when we spotted this beautiful jewelry box of a young girl and boy couple in wedding attire.

The little girl looked similar to me, so you know she was cute! And the boy was eating the cake which is Michael to a T!!

I didn’t have the money to buy it for myself because I had to buy others gifts before I pampered myself. It wasn’t super expensive but I really wanted it because it was at the beginning of my relationship with Michael and you know how that goes.

My aunt bought it for me and to this day, it is on top of my bureau! I love it.

So it’s really not the amount of money that is spent on a gift as it is the thought that is put into it. But for goodness sake’s put some real thought into it.

Once my neighbor knocked on my door to give me a magnet, she said that she was out shopping when she saw a magnet that said “Natasha’s Kitchen”. She knew I hated to cook and thought it was funny. That was 7 years ago and I still have the magnet! It makes me smile!

Ok, so now what are you going to get your loved one? You should know your loved one. Make it something memorable.

I love perfume but is it something that will last forever? That depends on you. The delivery is always as important.

You can start with Ecards. They are free! Spend some time looking through them, pick several ecards and arrange for them to be delivered on a different day. Personalize each message with a token of your appreciation and love for the person. This doesn’t have to be only for your loved one but family and friends too.

PLEASE don’t make one and send it to everyone. Major no no!! Make people feel special. It’s simple and free.

I am a huge fan of ITUNES and receiving an Itunes song from someone is easy and cheapo!! And you can put a personal message with each song in the email that has the link to redeem the gift. How cool is that!?

So you can send them the song, “You’re Beautiful” and write a note like “This song was made for you!” Awww!!! How cute?

You can collect pictures from their friends and family and send them a slide show of their life that they can put in their facebook or myspace. CHEAP!! Cute! And definitely one of those OMG YOU ARE SO NICE!!!!!

You might this is really pitiful but making time for them is the best gift if it has the right setting. Make a meal to go or order it made and take your loved one somewhere to have quality time. Don’t discuss anything negative. Accentuate the positive about your loved one and dream a little about the future. It’s ok. It gives them hope, shows you care and it’s cheap!

The biggest reason why people overspend is because the giver wants to impress the recipient’s friends and family. But, really? Who cares?

Think back to the most expensive gifts you have ever been given. Where are the gifts now?

Ok, think about your most favorite gifts. Hmmm… is that a smile forming on your mouth? Exactly!

One year, I tried to get the entire University of Miami football team to sign a homecoming football magazine. Somehow one of the football players took the magazine and it disappeared. I was furious. The players told me who they suspected who by the way later on became an NFL player and appears in the media to this day. I was really bummed out. One of the players said he would get everyone to sign another magazine but it wouldn’t be the same.

A few days before Christmas, one of the players calls me to tell me that they have the signatures. I offered to pick it up and they offered to drop it off. It gets better. My brother must have been 7 years old or so at the time. He went to the UM games with me and cheered right along with me and the other fans in the end zone. So you can imagine his face when two of the football players came to his home and gave him the magazine and played catch with him for awhile.

Now he might not remember that gift or think of it as his favorite, but I will always remember the effort that those players made to make a gift memorable on my behalf.

Know your recipient, stick to a budget and make it special!

Email me with your suggestions and I will post them right away here!