It seems it is always gift giving time!  But, since the holidays are almost here and you want to be finished with your gift list prior to the week before… I’m going to focus on the coming season.

If you are planning on giving gifts to children, it is all about their wishlist, not what you want them to have necessarily.  The best option here is to ask their parents what are they talking about now.  If budgets are tight, opt for just one gift on their list – don’t go into debt to get their approval which is fleeting (disappears within 48 hours of opening).

If you are planning on giving to adults, the advice is the same, don’t go into debt to buy something for the holidays.  The best gift is always going to be a gift of your time so think of what you both would enjoy doing together or what task they would like a reprieve from.  My son had his birthday last week and the best gift he got other than an heirloom from his grandfather, was a trip to the aquarium locally and lunch with a family friend whom he loves.  The out of pocket cost is minimal but the memory of spending a day together, just the two of them, is priceless.  Another take on this theme would be a gift of a service you can offer – cleaning out a closet, washing a car, two weeks of dog walks, putting together and downloading a playlist for their phone, raking leaves in their yard, and the list goes on.  In other words, as much as it is good to support the local economy, doing something for someone that they would like a break from doing is equally or more valuable.  It also shows how much you care for them.  Don’t forget to give a card in which you can describe the service or item.  They will remember this gift long after they have forgotten the sweater or tie.