The rest of the blogosphere is doing these posts, so I want in.

I’m not much of a money-spending gift giver. Anyone who knows me could probably tell you that. My family is pretty much the same way. Let me illustrate this with a conversation I had with my brother last year, who bought me a present even though we agreed that we wouldn’t do that that year. He gave me a CD, wrapped and everything.

Me: Maaaaatt! I thought we weren’t doing presents! Great, I didn’t get you anything.

Matt: It was $2 and I got it for 50% off. Plus I already uploaded it to my computer. So chill out.

But sometimes I have been known to give a gift or two. Usually they are either very cheap or free, or homemade, or food. So here are my top ideas:

If you’re crafty, The Sewing Republic has lots of really cool ideas and Recycled Lovelies has quite a few too. Last year, I got some free tote-bags from my work, and I just covered up the GE logo with a sewed-on decal of something I thought my friends would like. (Sadly, I never finished Wendy’s or Candice’s- sorry guys).

If you like to cook and you’re a little adventurous, you could make homemade caramels and wrap them in wax paper and put them in a cute tin. A batch goes a long way- you could probably get enough for 4 or 5 people from one batch. Here’s my recipe:

2cups sugar

1.5 cups dark Karo

1 cup cream

1.5 squares butter

Mix the above in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Boil hard for 5 minutes. Then add 1 more cup cream, 1 T at a time, slowly to maintain boil. Cook to firm ball stage (244°F). Take from stove and add 2 t vanilla and nuts if desired. Pour into a buttered 9×9 pan and let cool. Cut into squares and place each square on a square of wax paper, and wrap it Jolly-Rancher style.

Tip: to test firm ball stage, drop a little goop of the mixture into a cup of ice water. It should form a firm but pliable ball.

These aren't mine but they look similar

Regular ol’ cookies and treats are always good too, and you can usually find cute tins and boxes for a dollar or two.

Gift cards are awesome- I don’t buy that they’re impersonal- I know a few Starbucksaholics who would appreciate even the smallest gift card. If someone is doing a lot of home improvement, a Lowe’s or HD gift card (NOT hinting haha) seems like a pretty personal gift to me.

This one’s a little more expensive, but oh so cool. If you’re a humanitarian, does gift certificates. It’s such a cool idea- it’s like giving a charitable donation in someone’s name, except it’s not a charity! They’re micro-loans, and they have about a 98% repayment rate so your giftee actually gets the money back. Check it out!

My final idea: ask them what they want! If they play the whole “Oh, you don’t have to get me anything.” just say “I’m going to get you something, so it can either be something you want, or something you don’t want.” That worked on me one time.

I always want to give gifts that I really think people will use and enjoy, not that they will have to cart off in the DI (Goodwill) box a few months from now. Or, a gift that they can eat, because that’s pretty clutter-free.