Oh, c’mon, we’ve all done it. (At least I hope I’m not the only one.) You find a bargain and pray the price tag comes off cleanly so you can pass it off as a gift that costs more than it actually did. I, personally, don’t think you should have to go broke at Christmastime. Like most households, our family has to stick to a budget, and that means being a little creative sometimes, whether it’s by giving handmade items, or shopping sales. If you put thought into choosing the gift, of course, and give a little extra effort in its presentation, it doesn’t matter how much you spend. Here are some ways to disguise an inexpensive gift:
Give Thought to the Gift Wrap–Don’t just use some cheap wrapping paper and slap a pre-made bow on the thing. Try one of these gift wrap ideas instead for a more heartfelt way to present your gift. And for heaven’s sakes, remove the price tag. No one needs to know you found that perfect item for $3.97 on clearance at Target. For price tags stuck on glass, use a cotton ball and a little fingernail polish remover to help with sticky residue.
Tie on an Embellishment–Tie something extra onto the package that complements your gift. For example, if you give something related to baking, tie on a cookie cutter, a colored spatula, or a handwritten family recipe. Find a deal on a great scarf? Print out a diagram of ways to wear it on a pretty gift tag. How about including a gift certificate for a small bouquet from a local florist with that great vase you found on sale? You get the idea.
Buy in Bulk–Buy one package of something and separate the elements into gifts for several people. For instance, a set of 4 coffee mugs can be split into groups of 2 or 4 to make coffee-lovers’ baskets for a few people on your list.
Make It Yourself–It’s almost always cheaper to make a gift yourself, but the trick is to make sure your gift doesn’t look homemade. Check out these handmade gifts that look expensive.
Personalize It–Putting monograms, meaningful quotations, or photos on a gift always makes it more heartfelt. Etsy has lots of downloadable art you can personalize, or if you can sew, consider embroidering a monogram on an inexpensive item, such as West Elm’s throw. Another inexpensive idea is to make a photo book. A few Christmases ago, I made one using a ton of old black and white photos my Dad had in a box to put together a family tree for him in book-form.
Pick It with the Person In Mind–Show you really know and care about the person you’re gifting by picking something especially for him/her. There’s nothing wrong with one-size-fits-all gifts, especially if they’re packaged with care, but choosing something that reflects the person’s interests can go a long way. But this doesn’t have to be expensive! For example, bundle up a bunch of travel guides from the used book store for the adventurer on your list; search eBay for gently-used CDs to round out a collection; or pick up a vintage but inexpensive bracelet from an antique store for the fashionista in your family.
Give a Nod to History–Speaking of vintage stuff, it’s genuine, it looks expensive even though it often isn’t, and it has that “cool” factor that new-in-the-box items just don’t have. Don’t forget to check out antique stores, thrift stores, and Etsy and eBay for items that have a little patina. For instance, my friend is recently into tea and was eyeing teacups and saucer sets while shopping the other day. I plan on checking out Etsy for a vintage set that matches her kitchen colors.
You’ve probably got the idea by now: the best way to disguise a cheap gift is with thoughtfulness! You don’t have to spend a lot, but you should try to put a little effort into choosing and presenting your gifts.
Here are some other gift-related posts you might like: