It's that time of year again. You're racking your brain trying to think of some terrific gifts to give to your loved ones. But it's not so easy coming up with something different and special, is it?
Well, fear not -- your friends at The Motley Fool have some ideas for you. Permit me to offer some of my own that I shared on our Great Gift-Giving Ideas discussion board:
- If a friend was born in, say, 1965, you could look for items on eBay or Half.com from that year. These could be tied to his interests, such as movies, gardening, or hand tools; catalogs from the birth year could be of interest as well. On a recent eBay search for "1965," I found an issue of TV Guide, a Pittsburgh Pirates program, and a North Carolina license plate.
- Games can make for great gifts, and there's a nifty big world of new board and card games out there. The Funagain.com website is a great resource, and this long post may help you discover some winners, too.
- If someone grew up far away, you might find for her something from her hometown or home country. So maybe a "University of Helsinki" t-shirt for someone from Finland. Or postcards from/of Syria or South Dakota, if a friend is from there.
- You can procure an instant collection of Disney movies at eBay and elsewhere. Find out what a friend's favorite movie is, and buy her the DVD, ideally one that has a bunch of good extras. Some friends might enjoy DVDs of favorite TV shows -- you can now buy entire seasons of shows in single packages. (My personal recent favorite is "Wonderfalls.")
- If a friend has a favorite author or book, you might scout around for an autographed copy of it or anything autographed by the writer. Or give a magazine subscription. (Did you know that you can buy magazine subscriptions through Amazon.com and eBay?)
- If you're a good cook, you might give coupons for meals cooked by you. You might give gift certificates to fancy restaurants to friends who normally don't go to such places, as it might be a special treat for them.
- You can take some photos (or even one photo) and have them/it printed on some mugs or made into a calendar or poster for a friend or loved one. If it's a friend from college, for example, perhaps a photo of a group of friends.
- If you live near where a loved one lived, you might send her a photo of her old house, a sweatshirt from her high school, some local specialty food, etc. -- something she can't get easily from where she is.
- At various sites online, you can buy lots of nostalgia, such as candies that were commonly enjoyed in the 1950s or 1960s.
- If you know of something luxurious and nifty, you might give it to others. I discovered high-thread-count sheets a few years back and think a gift of a 400- or 600-thread count sheet set is a very nice gift. (Ideally Egyptian cotton, too.) Both Bed Bath & Beyond and Overstock.com have such sets for under $50.
- If someone loves aviation, you might be able to buy him a ride in a small or old airplane. If someone is travelling, you could buy her an extra splurge for her trip, such as a helicopter ride around the city, a hot air balloon ride, or a tandem skydiving experience (which can cost just $200).
- Gift certificates are always appreciated, but be sure to get one that's appropriate to the person's interests. If someone likes to fish, maybe get one from a sporting outfit. If someone gardens, from a gardening website. Many people also appreciate gift certificates for massages or to spas.
- You might give someone a theater gift certificate or set of movie passes so that he can enjoy movies without spending an arm or leg.
- Think of someone's profession. If a friend is a mechanic, for example, you might get her a poster of a car (or a car's engine).
- Finally, consider offering your time or skills. If your friend has bad vision, you might offer to read to him for an hour once a month. If you are good at fixing cars, you might offer to give a friend's vehicle a thorough check-up. If you're a good gardener, you might help someone else in their garden.
You'll find lots more good ideas in our discussion board -- pop in and see!
Give the Fool -- and with the Fool
One more item that might prove very valuable to a loved one is a gift subscription to one of our investing newsletters. We've got an array of them, covering topics such as dividend investing, retirement planning, mutual funds, and general personal finance. What could be better than helping a friend end up with a more comfy retirement?
And finally, I urge you to consider giving something to some wonderful people who you don't know, but who are in dire straits. Please join us in our annual Foolanthropy campaign. Click in to learn about five impressive organizations that are doing a lot of good in the world -- and perhaps send them a few dollars, as we ourselves are doing.
Amazon.com, eBay, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Disney are recommendations of Motley Fool Stock Advisor , where Tom and David Gardner are always on the lookout for the market's best investments. Try it out for yourself -- it's free for 30 days . Bed Bath & Beyond is also an Inside Value pick.