Gift Giving For Less

Designer extraordinaire, and guest author Daniela Garritano returns. If you would like to secure her services, don’t be afraid to email her by clicking here. Take it away D…


Do you hear what I hear?

The sound of bustling shoppers, registers chiming, pocket change jingling and customer’s sighing. Tis’ the sounds of the holiday season! The most common season to break the bank.It’s all too easy to get caught up in the expectation of taking on a second mortgage in order to show someone how much you care. But one of the most important things you can give yourself this holiday season is some spending limits. Read on for some money saving tips that will keep you out of the red and still show your loved one’s why they’re on your nice list!

1) The Flat Fee Gift

When thinking about what I would like to possibly buy for my loved ones, I admit, I never consider the additional annoyance of tax. And the tax alone could likely add up to a week of groceries or even a phone bill. So, what if we eliminated that extra cost by sticking with flat fee gifts? Cash for cards are an even swap my friends!

Daniela’s Pick: Gift cards. They often have a stigma of being impersonal, but not if they’re tailored to the recipient for a retailer they actually like and use.

D’s Tip: One of the coolest gifts I ever received was a two month credit on my cable bill! So, think about trying a ‘practical’ gift card. You can purchase gift cards for pretty much any standard living expense nowadays. How nice would it be if someone you care about didn’t have to pay for gas, groceries or utilities for a month? It’s an unexpected gift, totally helpful and oh-so appreciated!

2) The Universal Gift

Wouldn’t it be super easy if there was one affordable gift out there that could literally be applied to any given person on your list? (one that is NOT the singing bass…)

Well, now there is! And it can capture the hearts of any special someone! Your parents, your best girl or even your closest buddy! A while back, a friend of mine showed me this amazing video she had created as a gift for her parents. It had all of these beautiful images of her family celebrating the holidays throughout the years, along with inspiring quotes, video messages from loved one’s and a soundtrack near and dear to her family’s heart. Plus, it was beautifully wrapped in its own customized case. Bullseye!

Daniela’s Pick: Reel Life Productions. They specialize in the conversion of all media types to digital archives and capture your special moments in a memorable way. Visit for contact information, amazing sample videos and pricing guide.

3) The Name Pick

Not just for work colleagues anymore! An old tried, tested and true way to save during the holiday season is the name pick. While there are some exceptions to the rule, (I’m sorry, but your parents, better half and children should never be chosen from a hat!) this especially works well for those who have larger families, or a group of friends with whom you celebrate.

D’s Tip: When picking the names, discuss what a reasonable limit is to spend and agree on it. It will give everyone the opportunity to express what they feel most comfortable in spending and give you a clear guideline when you’re out shopping for your lucky pick!

4) The Charitable Gift

Instead of exchanging gifts with each of your friends and even their children in some cases, try pooling your money together for someone who truly needs it. Whether it’s your local homeless shelter or a donation to your favourite charity (no George Costanza’s with ‘The Human Fund’ please…) this will not only make a big difference in your own holiday, but also those who will experience a beautiful holiday because of your generosity.

Daniela’s Pick: Looking to be more involved? Get together and volunteer! Whether you’re serving Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen, or taking part in an adoption drive for some adorable critters that need a loving home, your time alone with make someone’s holiday season that much more special.

D’s Tip: If you’re not entirely sure what’s around you, Log onto to get a list of local charities that can be found throughout the entire planet. Literally! How smart!

5) The Homemade Party

I’m a huge advocate of the homemade gift. To me, it’s just so much more lovely and meaningful than an expensive one. I always look forward to the gorgeous homemade cookies my aunt brings me each year, or the Christmas cards adorned with glitter and glitz made especially for me by my two beautiful God kids. Something so simple, yet so incredibly thoughtful, heartwarming and in tune with the holiday spirit.

Daniela’s Pick: Make it fun! Each year, my fabulous group of girlfriends (hey girls!) gather for our annual Christmas get together in lieu of exchanging gifts with everyone. The party generally consists of obscene amounts of food, hilarious tales, and a super duper holiday craft that I typically personalize and give out to my loved one’s as a little extra special something!

D’s Tip: They don’t call her the domestic goddess for nothing! Visit for some amazing holiday crafts that are super affordable, and super easy to make!

Happy Saving!

Next time: Decorate for the holidays like a pro for less

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Showing 8 comments
  • Gabe

    All really great ideas and very practical and realistically economical. I tried the charity gift idea with some friends last year, and people actually were offended because they wanted gifts instead. It’s alarming how superficial some can really be around the holiday season. It’s nice to see there’s someone out there who truly isn’t. Great work Daniela. Look forward to you next post.

  • Jason

    Is this girl for real? If so, give her my number. She shouldn’t be writing…she should be gracing the cover of every magazine out there. Wow! Oh, good article too.

  • Andrew @ Financial Services

    I honestly don’t know who wouldn’t want to get a gift check for Christmas. All the suggestions are good but somehow I feel the best would be #5. I mean, you can always earn to buy something that you want, but to be able to gather loved ones and have fun on a special occasion is precious.

  • Christina

    It’s a nice idea to give more to the needy…not exactly a charitable institution, not unless you’re rich and you don’t meddle with low class society whether it be relatives or friends, it could be anyone close to you. What’s once a year to make them feel special. Plus, you don’t necessary forget the gifts for the kids, you can still save on discount store, or bake some cookies…any thing will do..

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