It’s that time of year again. Time for Christmas lights, egg nog, hot apple cider, trees, ornaments, cold weather, carols, snowmen, cinnamon brooms, homemade goodies and advent calendars. That time of year when everyone is in a great mood, more in love than ever, and always smiling. When we hold our loved ones just a little closer and laugh just a little louder. Who doesn’t love Christmas time? ‘Tis the season for SO many great things!
‘Tis also the season for Dirty Santa, White Elephant gift exchange, Secret Santa – you know the drill. While these parties are usually full of fun and entertainment (I personally LOVE them), figuring out what to buy for a complete stranger or group of weirdos is never really easy.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to bring the same old thing as everyone else: A restaurant gift certificate, movie, gas card, generic candle or a tacky Christmas decoration ….
I like to be creative and have fun with my gifts! Give things that no one else will bring, and may not have even thought about. And please believe, I am a HUGE fan of gift baskets and packages. If I can make it look cute, consider it done. With that said, I have compiled a list of 10 baskets and fun gifts (mostly baskets) that can fit into a variety of price ranges and that nearly everyone will love!

1. Movie Bucket $15-20: Who doesn’t love movies?!

  • Find a plastic popcorn bucket (Wal-Mart or Target usually has them for a few bucks) or just use a simple, cheap, plastic bowl.
  • One or two classic movies from the $5 bin at Wal-Mart (Christmas movies such as The Grinch,  Christmas Vacation or Bad Santa are always big hits) OR $10+ gift card to a local movie theater
  • Box of popcorn (I like the “Movie Butter” kind!)
  • A few candy bars or boxes of candy (like you’d get at the theater)
  • 2 16 oz. bottles of soda

Arrange the items in the bowl or bucket, making them look nice and fun. Use tissue paper in the bottom to add height or to fill in any gaps. Wrap with cellophane and tie with a ribbon. Place in a gift bag and voila!

2. Lottery Tickets (any price range): Great for anyone, any age, any gender.
Stuff a shoe box, gift box or gift bag with scratch-off lottery tickets. Mix & match with different priced tickets, different types of tickets or stick with one kind. This is always a hit, and usually gets stolen and passed around several times throughout the game. The best part is watching the person that ends up with them scratch them off and seeing if they win anything!

3. Grown-Up Stocking (any price range): Great for a group with a variety of people, interests and personalities.
Fill a stocking with a variety of mini liquor bottles. Since they are mostly all in the $1-3 price range, you can add as many or as few as you’d like. This is also fun to combine with scratch-off tickets! Stuff tissue paper in the top to hide all the goodies inside.

4. Girl’s Night In $15+: Perfect for a gals-only gift exchange.
Everyone gives lotions and bubble baths. SNORE. Spice up this traditional gift with items she will actually use! Select a variety of nail polish, lip gloss and sparkly eye shadows. Grab the latest issue of Cosmopolitan and People magazine and find a cute basket or box. Arrange the items atop sparkly tinsel, wrap and have fun watching the girls fight over it. (If you’re planning in advance, I suggest ordering makeup from E.L.F. Everything is extremely affordable and the products are fresh and fun. Looking to spend a little more? Victoria’s Secret has great makeup.) Want to take it a step further? Add a great chick flick (such as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Sex and the City) and a bottle of wine to the mix!

5. Office Nerd $10+: Going to a work-related gift exchange? Think Geek has a number of hilarious (and useful) office items that are sure to be a hit! My personal favorites include the WTF stamp, Like/Dislike Stamp Set and Get the Hint Sticky Notes. They come in handy when someone in the office is having a bad day or left their brain at home!

6. Picnic in the Park $25+: For the romantic in the group.

  • Picnic basket
  • Pair of plastic champagne or wine glasses
  • Bottle of champagne or wine
  • Cheese/sausage/cracker set
  • Plastic or disposable Plates and Flatware
  • Pair of linen napkins
Place everything neatly in the picnic basket and wrap! (This also makes a great wedding gift. I got a great basket from Pottery Barn, stuffed it with cute goodies and purchased a gift certificate for a horse-drawn carriage ride from the couple’s hometown. They loved it!)

7. For the Cook $10-15
Stuff a holiday-printed oven mitt with a spatula, folded Christmas dish towel, whisk, set of measuring spoons and any other fun kitchen utensils. Set on top of a cook book or cooking magazine and wrap tightly with a ribbon. Place in a gift bag. You could even theme it for a particular recipe or type of food (ex: cookie cutters, rolling pin, sprinkles, tube of icing, measuring spoons and a cookie cook book!)

8. Party Animal $15:  Exchanging with friends? Put together a Beer Pong gift set! All you’ll need is a pack of ping pong balls, a pack of solo cups and a case of beer. Wrap it all together in a big box and no one will ever guess what it is!

9. Half a Yard $20: When you’re exchanging with a large group or a variety of types of people, this is a great gift. These can typically be found at any liquor store, or you can buy them online. After all, who wouldn’t want to display a half-yard beer glass in its own stand on the kitchen counter? Better yet, who wouldn’t want to try chugging it? Not that this happened at our office gift exchange or anything ….

10. Customize It! Know who you’re buying for? has THOUSANDS of great gifts for anyone!

Do you have a creative, out-of-the-box gift that you’ve given or received at a gift exchange? Tell me! Please … I have four of these things to go to this month!


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