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Trae Bodge is a guest writer for Citizens Bank, N.A. With the exception of direct quotes, any advice and opinions are of the guest writer.
Year after year, it’s challenging to find unique holiday gifts that not only work for your budget, but also that the people in your life will love and cherish. Sometimes it seems like the people on your list have it all and are impossible to shop for. But don’t fret — there are still great gifts that will surprise and delight them.
So, how do you afford the right gift for the special people in your life without feeling the effects for months to come?
You might have a dollar amount you’d like to spend on gifts this holiday. But all it takes is going a bit overboard on your brother’s gift and you’re left scrambling. Do you go over budget? Cut back on someone else’s gift?
Or, you could eliminate that headache entirely by using the holiday gift calculator below to set and keep a budget.
We’ve partnered with Trae Bodge, a smart shopping expert and owner of truetrae.com, to help identify gift ideas you wouldn’t think to get yourself, but you could definitely use. Appearing alongside hosts like Rachel Ray and Harry Connick Jr., Bodge has shared her smart shopping expertise with countless consumers, and now she’s here to help spark some ideas by sharing some of her favorite gifts!
For people who travel frequently, there are so many useful and budget-friendly gift options that help make travel more comfortable and fun. Some of the things I personally enjoy are a contoured eye mask and earplugs set, a super comfy travel pillow like the one from Cabeau, or a kit with empty bottles for my beauty products, like the Kikkerl and Apothecary Travel Bag Set. I appreciate the design of the old-fashioned bottles and labels, plus the clear pouch! Your recipient will love these items and they’ll always think of you when they head off for their next adventure.
We take so many photos with our phones that you’re bound to have a beautiful photo that has sentimental significance to your recipient. And lucky you, around the holidays, you’ll find deep discounts on gifts like photo books, photo calendars, and photo pillows. Some of my favorite online options are the Photo Magnets from Canvaspop, the Atrium Acrylic Block from Myphoto, and the Framed Prints from Framebridge. I have given gifts from all three. I’m grateful for their high quality and fast, efficient service and love to see them on display when I visit!
If you prefer to pick up in person, check your local drugstore chain, like CVS or Walgreens, for good deals and a quick turnaround — either chain will produce good prints, if you already have a frame. Hardcover photo books are always fun, and you can design them online and pick them up locally to avoid shipping fees.
A live plant makes for a lasting gift that’s a beautiful reminder of your relationship. If it’s cold where they live or if they don’t have a yard, select a potted plant that can live inside, at least for the winter. If you’re purchasing an outdoor plant, select something that you know they’ll have adequate space and light for (and that’s not too high maintenance!). You can purchase plants at your local garden store if you’re giving locally, or order online if you need to ship your gift. For online gifting, I like PlantOgram, which delivers fruit trees in a gorgeous box and is a celebrity favorite.
If you have over $100 to spend, a good way to approach the gift is to ask yourself, “What can I give them that they wouldn’t give themselves?” Luxury bedding could very well be one of those things. I was recently treated to a 100% Organic Cotton Duvet Cover and Percale Sheets from Boll & Branch, and climbing into my bed has never been the same. I also really love Luxe Rev-Tek Performance Sheets from mattress brand, Reverie. They are designed to keep you cool and their unique fabric blend has a delightful silkiness to it.
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