With the holidays just around the corner, most people have already begun shopping for friends and family. Even when you're on a budget, you want to buy the perfect items for your loved ones to show how much you really care.
With close friends and family, you might know immediately which gifts will make their day. For those people you're not as close with, you may think an edible gift basket and other food-based goodies are the perfect selection. After all, who doesn't enjoy amazing food and snacks?
This gift-giving guide explains a few of the potential drawbacks of purchasing edible gifts, which can help you use your money wisely at this time of the year. It also offers some alternate ideas to ensure your loved ones are fully satisfied with what they receive.
Why Giving Edible Gifts Can Be Problematic
Edible gifts seem like a real crowd-pleaser in theory until you dig a little deeper. The first issue to consider is food allergies, which many people experience. Some food allergies are minor and cause a bit of swelling and hives. Others can be life-threatening and require an emergency trip to the hospital. Even if you're aware of your loved one's allergy, you can't always be sure whether a gift basket has been contaminated.
Food preferences are up next, as so many people these days lead vegan or vegetarian lifestyles. While many gift baskets are friendly to people with plant-based diets, there's always a risk that an animal-based product will be included by mistake.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to avoid edible gifts, including:
- Health Issues - Dietary restrictions accompany many medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Social Responsibility - Some people forgo food that isn't sourced or procured ethically, such as chocolate and meat products.
- Taste Preferences - You can never be sure that a person enjoys a certain food or flavorings, which can result in the gift going to waste.
What to Give Friends and Family Instead
If you're struggling with gift inspiration, think practically first. Many people want items that will make their lives easier but fail to purchase them on their own. If someone in your life is handy, consider gifting them a toolset. If they love baking, utensils and cookware are an excellent selection. For people with long daily commutes, an audiobook subscription is a great option.
Also, don't feel like you must gift other people in your life with a tangible object. Many people prefer to enjoy a fun experience with their loved ones, which can be remembered for many years to come. In this case, purchasing a gift certificate to a beloved restaurant allows your loved one to enjoy an amazing meal. You can also purchase gift certificates for day spas, driving ranges, or other fun activities at events. Don't be afraid to literally think outside the box!
What to Give Co-Workers and Others in Your Life
As for acquaintances and others, avoid the edible gift baskets in favor of gift cards. Gift cards are great for people you don't know as well, as they allow the person to choose what they spend their gift money on. Travel coffee mugs and water bottles are another good selection, as most people will have a use for them.
Stationery and pen sets are always welcomed in an office or corporate setting. Gifts of hand sanitizer and lotion are always a great purchase, as they're available in affordable travel sizes and can be used just about everywhere.
Holiday gift-giving is a great way to show someone how important they are in your life. While you want to make a good impression, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Remember, it's the thought that counts!