Christmas, also known as the most stressful time of year, is just around the corner. That means it’s time to whip out your wallet and buy useless things for people who are just going to re-gift them next year. Alternatively, you could get everyone bargain basement gifts and then endure the awkwardness as your recipients smile weakly upon seeing their new mug or picture frame. Brrr.
Buying Christmas gifts is hard. One the one hand, you don’t want to spend your entire year end bonus on Christmas gifts; one the other, getting everyone presents from Daiso or clichés like chocolate takes a little bit of magic out of the holiday.
Here are 5 gift ideas that will cost not more than $15 but are still fancy and/or personalised enough to ensure you don’t get erased from the guest list for next year’s Christmas dinner.
1. Gourmet groceries
While getting your recipient a can of tuna from NTUC is going to earn you some new nicknames, getting gourmet groceries will cost a bit more but give your recipient a much nicer surprise.
A box of Lipton tea bags will make your recipient give you the evil eye, but the same cannot be said of fine cranberry autumn tea from Harney and Sons. And while a bag of Hand Brand peanuts might not exactly bring on tears of delight, if your recipient is a heath food nut some quinoa or chia seeds from iHerb or Qoo10 will be greatly appreciated.
2. Luxury and organic bath and body products
Hand creams, moisturisers and essential oils are popular gifts, but everyone is already sick of receiving gift packs from The Body Shop.
But with organic products still being trendy and sought after in Singapore, people who would balk at the thought of receiving Lux shower gel will still coo at a gift of luxurious, vegan, sulfate free, cruelty-free Deep Steep bubble bath, a 517 ml bottle of which costs only US$7.65 on iHerb.
3. Art prints
While you might be tempted to give your friends a framed picture of some of your own drawings, unless you’re the next Picasso it’s probably best to reserve your creations for the family fridge.
Art prints created by actual artists, on the other hand, can be a great gift if you know the person and their home décor well enough to pick out a piece that suits their personality.
Even better, if you know where to look, the Internet is full of inexpensive art prints.
If your friend is a true blue Singaporean with a penchant for vintage-inspired designs, this Kueh print and this Mee print from Naiise cost just $12 and are a cute homage to local food.
4. Craft beer bottles
Honestly, I think many guys would be happy to receive a six pack of Tiger Beer, bless ‘em. But if you’re looking for a gift that’s a little more festive, a bottle or two of craft beer will enable your recipient to celebrate in a little more style.
Unbeknownst to many on our shores, you don’t need to go to a bar to get craft beer. A few Cold Storage outlets such as the one at China Square Central carry lesser-known beers, while those placing a bulk order can just hit up Mabuk Monkey, where a bottle of craft beer costs from $7.90 to $10.
5. Handmade pasta/soap/jewellery/candles
If you intend to DIY your gifts, it’s important to know the difference between a secondary school-looking collage and hipsterish spirit-of-DIY-type candles poured into mason jars.
As a general rule, handmade edibles are generally welcomed, and telling people you made them yourself will earn you lots of extra points. This means making your own pasta out of flour or creating your own soap a la Fight Club might earn you points for bestowing on your recipients a highly personal and treasured gift, so long as you make it known that you did it yourself.
Do you have any other budget gifts to suggest? Let us know in the comments!