Time and thought saves cash at Christmas

Last updated 17:00 27/11/2013
christmas presents
MAKE THEM MEMORABLE: I say save a pretty penny by putting some time and thought into your Christmas gifts.

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I truly believe that making a beeline for the nearest mall to buy your Christmas presents is a futile exercise. Driving in circles to find a park, sifting through the queues of frazzled shoppers, all to end up choosing the least crowded store and grabbing the first overpriced thing you see.

I say save a pretty penny by putting some time and thought into your Christmas gifts.

By tailoring your gift to the receiver you are showing your appreciation for them in a far more meaningful way than with money.

Here are some ways to supersize your giving power this Christmas:

Do some snooping

Pay attention. You will get far more kudos for being observant and remembering the little things. Thoughtful gifts don't have to be expensive. Are they a movie buff? Dig for old school film posters on TradeMe. Are they into vintage clothing? Hit the op-shops and see what treasures you can find.

Use your hands

Get crafty. You don't have to be an artist and you don't have to put in an obscene amount of time to create a beautiful gift. Why don't you decorate an empty mug and bake it in the oven? Why don't you create a digital collage of your favourite photos and print them on a photo block? Make your own soap? Create string letters? Source some baking ingredients from your local supermarket, pop them in a mason jar, finished off with a ribbon and some cute labels? or are great places to start for more ideas.

Give a gift that's not just good for them

Another suggestion is to give presents that are not only good for the receiver, but also for a person in a developing country who needs it more.

I love the TEAR Fund Gift for Life catalogue for this. Choose from a range of gifts that are making a change in the world. You then receive a beautiful card from them, explaining how your money is making a difference.

I've found heart-warming and practical gifts are a smash hit with all recipients and take the guesswork out of secret Santas and the like.

Two birds with one stone

If you are buying for a family or a couple, forget about getting them individual presents and gift them with an experience they can all share. You can buy a discount Groupon voucher for skydiving, rock-climbing, or wine-tasting. They will be sure thank you next time they see you and will love you even more for giving them the opportunity to enjoy each other's company.

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