5 Alternative and Creative Gift Giving Ideas

Posted by Amanda on December 9, 2009

It is tradition in my family to purchase a gift for everyone. This includes grandparents, parents, siblings and their children, significant others, friends, etc. I love to purchase gifts throughout the year that fit each of the people on my list, and also to get great deals as sales come up seasonally. But year after year, my gift-giving list just keeps growing!

Gift-giving should not be a stressful event, nor should it divert your financial efforts for several months into the New Year. If you find yourself with a large list of people to purchase for, I am here to tell you that you do not need to feel overwhelmed. Keep the spirit of the season in mind, and use one of the following alternate gift-giving ideas below to spread some cheer, keep things interesting, and make everyone happy.

Alternative Gift Ideas

  1. Put Money Into Savings for a Shared Goal: Instead of purchasing a gift this year for your significant other, close friends, etc., you can both contribute money into savings for a shared goal. For example, if you and your friend have always talked about taking a yoga or cooking class together, or you and your spouse are saving towards a long weekend getaway, you can both contribute money into an account to help pay for this future gift.
  2. White Elephant Exchange:This is a great idea for large families, or businesses/organizations, etc. Everyone purchases a gift (within a specified money limit), and brings it to an event wrapped. All gifts are placed on a table, and each person who brought a gift chooses a number out of a basket. Starting with number 1, that person chooses a gift from the table. Each person thereafter (starting with number 2, 3, etc.) can either choose to steal a gift that someone else has chosen, or to take a gift from the table. In the end, everyone has a gift, and the crowd is usually dying to know what is under all the shiny wrapping paper of an especially interesting-looking gift or two. It’s a lot of fun!
  3. Donate to a Charity in a Person’s or Family’s Name: Just Give has a great option for a holiday gift. You can purchase the GiveNow gift card to give to another person or family as a gift. They then log onto Just Give, choose from over 1.5 million charities in the database, and click to make the donation!
  4. Family Gift or Experience: If you have sisters, brothers, or friends who have children of their own, instead of purchasing one gift for each family member, purchase a gift for the entire family that will help to bring them closer together. This could be a badminton net or horsehoe set, a gift certificate to the movies, or a blockbuster gift card and a tin of gourmet popcorn. Get creative!
  5. Secret Santa: Several weeks before the holidays, pick names out of a hat to determine who each person will purchase a gift for. This remains a secret until the gift is exchanged, which can either be at your holiday dinner/gathering, or in a secret, spontaneous way (think sneaking it into the driver seat of their car, in their mailbox/front doorstep, waiting for them on their desk at work, etc.)

Have fun, get creative, and enjoy this holiday season with your loved ones. Who knows, this may be the year that you start a new, cherished tradition!

More Creative Gift Ideas

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Comments to 5 Alternative and Creative Gift Giving Ideas

  1. you should consider using elfster.com for your family secret santa gift exchanges. it’s free, automatically draws someone’s name for you randomly, you can ask anonymous questions, there are open forum questions, you can create a wishlist (with actual products from gifts.com) and you can suggest gifts for others in your group. it’s easy to sign up and you won’t have to worry about giving someone a disappointing present! GENIUS I say


  2. Amanda,

    Great posting. One thing I would mention is that some people find secret santa to be tedious, especially if one is obligated to do secret santa in a work environment.




  3. I think a White Elephant at work would be way more fun than Secret Santa! I like secret santa exchanges with other groups though. Our moms group does one throughout the year and the gifts don’t have to be big at all. It’s just the idea of being treated.

    Glad I found your blog, thanks for the tips!



  4. Hello Sarah! Thanks for the great information–I did not know that website existed.

    Amanda L. Grossman

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