So, you need a gift quick and you have no pennies!
We've all been there! The car breaks down, the washer starts leaking, the oven stops heating up and and even the damn toaster decides it doesn't want to brown bread anymore! You've had enough, you're at your wits end, and so's your bank manager! And then it hits you... Yep... That oh so important birthday that's been lurking in the deep and dark shadows of your mind, just waiting for a week like this one to come out and tease you some more! Or perhaps you're just struggling to find that real heartfelt something! I mean, everything is so damn commercialised these days! Where's the meaning and thought gone in gifts!?!
Well, I'm glad to announce that I've a happy and free solution! So grab a brew, kick back and read away! I'm going to list some absolutely FREE gift ideas that are truly heartfelt and guaranteed to impress - Many of which I've used myself!
1) Gift a Scrapbook of Memories & Pictures
Okay, so you're going to need a printer potentially, or at least a few old photographs to hand! But other than that, a cheap or old disused scrapbook, a pen and a stick of glue should take you far! Don't underestimate this gift... You'll have just as much fun making it as they will receiving it! And if you really wanted to go all out, you could even wrap it in your spare leftover wallpaper that you'll inevitably have lying around... Go on... Admit it... We all save it to never use it again!!! Okay, so perhaps that may be a bit too retro for you, but rest assured that this gift will go down an absolute treat and will be treasured forever more regardless of how you package it!
2) Gift a Box of Homemade Cookies
Right, I'm afraid I've failed you here if that oven from my intro is still on the blink! But if it's not... You my friend, are about to become a superstar gift giver! There can't be a person on this planet that doesn't like cookies! These are so simple it's unbelievable. Google yourself a quick recipe... Extra bonus points for those who search 'Vegan cookie recipies'! Then you can either fold a piece of card into a giftbox or take yourself down to Asda and pick up 2 beautiful cupcake boxes for just £2.00! Stick a message on the front and negate the need for a card, then fill it with your delicious freshly made cookies for A-Star presentation! Job done! And the real benefit here is that you can tailor your gift to your recipients needs! If they're on a diet, make the least sinful cookies man can make... If theyre vegan, make them completely vegan cookies... If they're into a particular hobby or show, you can personalise the cookies accordingly. You get the jist! Take the example below... Which I assure you is a REAL LIFE example! And it went down great!!!
3) Gift a Poem or a Song
How do you get any more heartfelt than this! Seriously! This is absolute gold... Particularly if the gift recipient is a special guy/lady. If you can bust a basic tune out on any instrument, then throw out 4 simple chords and let your heart do the writing! Don't play an instrument? You don't get out of it that easily... Write a poem! It's so easy! Grab a pen and a piece of paper... Yes, right now! Spend just 5 minutes writing what you think of this person (probably not wise if you hate them) and then formulate into a simple rhyming poem! Stuck for a word... type 'synonyms' in google. Stuck for a rhyme... type 'rhymes with' in google! Whether it's a poem or a song that's better suited to your skillset... It's a win win! You develop your music/poetry skills further, you're guaranteed a lucky night ;) and the receiving boy (or lady) will care far more for a song or a poem as a gift than they will a new pair of socks! Particularly if you can combine it with a romantic meal!
4) Gift an Edible Plant
Okay, so gift a plant! I know, you're probably thinking get real! But think about it, in giving a plant as a gift, you give something that looks beautiful, that smells beautiful (unless you choose a corpse flower... ewww) and that tastes beautiful all in one! Better still, a plant will last for years, even decades in some cases and just keep on giving... A constant reminder to the recipient of what a great friend they have! I've an absolute tonne of herbs and strange plants in the garden that I could (A) Pull out of the ground and chuck in an old cleaned up pot, or (B) Take a cutting from. If you have time on your side and it's spring or summer, then taking a cutting from an already prospering plant is a no brainer. Simply cut off a young, fresh shoot, stick it in wet soil and watch as it almost dies and struggles back to life again... Taking 3-4 cuttings is always a safer bet! After 4-6 weeks you should have yourself a budding young clone plant in perfect shape for gifting to your grateful receiver (No, you don't have to be a scientist to clone things!) The best gift plants tend to be Mediterranean in origin, as they are usually evergreen and can be used either outdoors or as a windowsill plants depending on the recipients preference. Perfect gift plants include Chilli, Bay Leaf, Oregano, Lemon Balm and Thyme. If you don't have these or similar lay in your garden already, seeds are ten a penny and flourish in no time... Particularly where the herb plants are concerned.
5) Gift a Customised Plant Pot
Yes, Yes, I know... This may not go down so well on it's own! BUT... You can either fill it with the plant from Suggestion 4, or alternatively if you're not green fingered fill it with another homemade gift, perhaps similar in nature to that mentioned in suggestion 6! So... Here we go... Pick up an old disused plant pot (Terracotta would be easiest) give it a good clean and prep yourself for some plant pot personalisation (Oh yes, arent you the cool one!) You can either paint your message by hand with gloss and a paintbrush, or if you're a real pro DIY'er you may prefer to make a stencil of a piece of paper before painting. Simply write your message in bold on a piece of paper, cut out the letter outlines with a sharp knife and attach tightly to the plant pot with tape before coating with that old tin of spraypaint you'll undoubtedly have lingering in the shed. The cool thing here is that you can say whatever you want to without the usual droning card template that simply states 'Happy Birthday!' You could even make a plant pot out of wood if you have some knocking around! Check out the recent attempt from Naturally Wicked below. A well thought out gift that you've put time and effort into will not go unnoticed, regardless of it's homemade nature!
6) Gift a Bag of Presents
Just take a look at the example below. This gift is absolutely beautiful and costs virtually nothing to make. Yet the thought really does go a long way. Time is worth so much more than money where gifts are concerned... It really is. And I speak from experience. I have received one of these in the past and was absolutely flabbergasted that somebody would take the time and effort to create this gorgeous present for me. The same certainly can't be said for the deodorant and the socks that I received! :D
And, it doesn't have to stop at that. With a little research you can include all kinds of goodies in your gift bag. Check out some other simple items that you could include below.
7) Gift Some Free Time
So, if none of the above ideas work for you and you truly are strapped for cash, pertinent belongings and all inspiration, why not just gift some time to your recipient. It's likely it will prove just as beneficial for them as it will for you if times are hard. It could be as simple as helping out around the garden, taking their pets for a walk or minding their kids one evening. Hell, you could even offer to cook for them at their own house. The offer of time to your gift recipient will mean far more than any present money can buy! Each human gets a rough average of 700,000 hours on this planet... Don't spend another minute fretting about a gift you can't afford to buy. You just haven't got time. Just pick one from above and move on. :)
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