The 24-Hour Mommy: 7 Affordable and Useful Gifts for the Holiday Season


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7 Affordable and Useful Gifts for the Holiday Season

1:14 PM

The holidays are here and that means more Christmas spending for all! Yay!


I know that most Filipinos are generous people. Many will buy gifts for family and friends regardless of their financial status, even if the other party says they don’t need to. I admire this generous spirit but cannot help but worry about what comes after.

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of possible gift ideas that are affordable and still useful to the receiver.

1. Planners or Notebooks

A simple and elegant planner for next year might make a great gift for a venerable elder who prefers to write rather than type. While your other relatives may give them more expensive, hi-tech gifts in an effort to impress, some old people never really get the hang of using gadgets and only end up giving them away to their more tech-savvy grandchildren. Gifting them something more familiar shows that you respect their preferences and that there is no reason for them to change.


However, make sure you get one small enough to carry around! Big, heavy ones that look like dictionaries tend to gather dust on some out-of-the-way bookshelf, too cumbersome to be of any use to anyone.

Another paper-based gift to consider is the humble and yet ever useful notebook. If you have creative friends, a small lined or unlined notebook would be great for jotting down ideas or sketches on the go. Good ideas tend to disappear quickly, as any creative will tell you, and the best way to save them is by writing them down.

The best thing about notebooks though is that the person you’ll gift them to will always find some use for them, whether they place it beside their office phone for quick notes, or give them to their kid for school use.

2. Compact Mirrors

I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked if I had a mirror during gatherings with my girlfriends. All I can say is: A lot.
The largest market for compact mirrors are women who wear make-up. Often, they’d do a quick touch up after they eat, before meeting someone important, or after a certain amount of time has passed. Women also have different make-up preferences and some don’t use press powder with its convenient compact mirror, so separate mirrors as gifts are a good idea if you have friends like mine.


But don’t think that it’s just women that have a use for compact mirrors. Men and women both use mirrors to see if they’ve accidentally got food stuck between their teeth or to check if their hair’s still in place.

Compact mirrors that fit in a wallet, small bag, or even a car’s glove compartment will be incredibly useful to anyone who cares about their appearance.

3. Potted Plants

If you or your friend is conscious about the environment, gifting potted plants may be for you.


A little reminder though, before choosing what plant to gift, make sure you know your receiver’s habits at home. Do they have pets? Make sure your gift plant isn’t poisonous to animals. Are they busy all the time? A succulent or cactus might fit them better as opposed to something leafy and in need of constant care. Do they believe in Feng Shui? A Chinese Money Plant will definitely make them happy. Do they love to cook? Get them a pot of mixed fresh herbs for their kitchen!

Aside from freshening up a space, certain varieties of plants can also clean the air, deter pests, and even have medicinal benefits when properly applied. Plants are not only pretty but also useful in their own right.

4. Flash drives

If your gift budget’s a little bit bigger, consider getting people USB flash drives. They’re not as expensive as they were a few years ago, but they’re still extremely useful for…well, everybody! Or at least, everybody who uses a computer.

5. Groceries

I got this idea from a good friend of mine. If you plan on giving an entire family presents this holidays, you can always get them groceries. With how high the inflation rate is right now, I’m sure they’ll appreciate every little bit you give.

Prepare a large eco bag or basket and fill it with some Christmas staples like Christmas ham, Edam cheese and spaghetti. To make your gift more special, add premium items like a bottle of wine or luxury chocolates. If the family in question has kids, you can also add snack foods they can bring to school.

Since it’s a gift for the whole family, you don’t need to buy other individual gifts unless you want to. If you plan on doing the same thing for other families, buy items in bulk to cut down on costs. Sometimes, you can even find luxury items under ‘buy 3 get 1’ or other similar sales.

6. Tumblers

People with on-the-go lifestyles will especially appreciate this gift.
Convenient, secure and keeps your drink hot, tumblers are extremely useful in today’s hectic times. People don’t always have the luxury of sitting down and enjoying a hearty breakfast, most need to rush out of their homes to beat the traffic. In this case, tumblers are life savers for the hungry masses. Along with a sandwich, a tumbler full of hot coffee or Milo will keep your receiver going until lunch.

As an added plus, tumblers can be easily (and cheaply!) personalized for a special touch.

7. Gift Cards

If your relative or friend is hard to shop for, then I would recommend gift certificates. If they have a restaurant or shop they particularly like, getting a gift certificate might be better than buying them something from there yourself. You can be sure they’ll like it, and you won’t have to waste time thinking of what item to get them as a gift.

Being generous is not the same a bankrupting yourself. You can still show that you care by choosing small, thoughtful gifts that your relatives and friends will find useful in their everyday lives.

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Wendy Anderson is the writer and owner of wendywunders.wordpress.com. She is a freelance writer, financial literacy advocate, and devoted mother to Cleo Anderson. You can check out her website at wendywunders.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter at @WendyWunders.

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