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Gift Advice for Friends


Alex39
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I'm such at a loss for Christmas gifts for my friends and for a work party. I picked up these cute throw blankets for $10, but we typically spend $25. I'm so stuck on what to put with the blanket. I think a mug is such an easy but generic thing. I've done mugs before. I thought of making cookies, but my one friend had weight loss surgery so really doesn't eat sweets. Maybe wine? But two of my friends don't drink much. A candle? Again, not even sure my friends like candles. And there are men at my work party, so they won't like that. Any ideas?

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It kind of depends if they are country mice or city mice.

Gloves and scarfs are good ideas.  Wind chimes are nice as well as a nice picture frame.  If they have a dog or cat they talk about then a pet styled picture frame they could put on their desk is thoughtful.

Also a movie night kit with stuff in it like milk duds, popcorn, twizzlers and the like.

These can be age dependent so keep that in mind.

Good luck, you still have time 😃

Lost

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I'd accompany the blankets with a $15 gift card such as Amazon, VISA or Starbucks (they can drink coffee, tea, buy a snack - - if it's their habit).  I agree, no candles.  I have a box of candles and no one wants junk. 

If I were on the receiving end of gifts, I always prefer practical gifts which are most appreciated.

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25 dollars per co-worker? Geez, how many co-workers do you have to buy for? A Secret Santa where you pick one name out of the hat might be a lot more kinder to your pockets and less stressful.

Just throwing that out there, even though it wasn't a part of the question.

I bought a four pack of holiday tins filled with flavored hot chocolate packets at Costco to have on hand for impromptu gifts. Hot cocoa doesn't have too many calories. Many women like sugar scrub for their skin and body splash from Bath and Body Works, etc. Sometimes men like those sets of barbecue sauce. 

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I'm personally in the make them something camp. Cookie while great for all but one, whom I may suggest you find what dietary restrictions they have and adapt to that. Then again I have in the past smoked ribs for employees with sauces of their liking, and one year made the company Christmas meal (small office).

I also like Andrina's idea of the little sampler pack ideas, gives them some variety and you aren't stuck with just one thing for everyone. You can mix it up a little.

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18 minutes ago, Coily said:

I'm personally in the make them something camp. Cookie while great for all but one, whom I may suggest you find what dietary restrictions they have and adapt to that. Then again I have in the past smoked ribs for employees with sauces of their liking, and one year made the company Christmas meal (small office).

I also like Andrina's idea of the little sampler pack ideas, gives them some variety and you aren't stuck with just one thing for everyone. You can mix it up a little.

So I received homemade goodies a few times but many years ago (one was a banana bread -yum!) but these days it's really not a thing anymore because of allergies, and not knowing what the person's kitchen is like (I wouldn't consume anything homemade from a coworker personally).  I love that you made smoked ribs!  My office did used to do a holiday potluck for the huge number of employees but that was unusual.  Many years ago I made cookies for friends of mine as gifts or just because.  And in schools these days you can't do homemade anymore because of allergies -all has to be wrapped, labeled, etc.  

It's a really thoughtful gift for sure and nice of you to cook the holiday meal!

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I have problems with candy because of all my allergies. My cousin, who has known me her entire life, gave me a box of Sees candy. The nuts variety pack. I am allergic to chocolate and go into anaphylactic shock if I eat nuts. I thought she was trying to bump me off 🤣 Some people have gluten sensitivity, are lactose intolerant or are allergic to eggs. I also have friends who are sober addicts so I had to be sure nothing I gave them had alcohol in it.

I wouldn't do homemade sweets for those very reasons. Nothing makes a person feel worse than someone having to ask them exactly what is in the cookies or cake. It's a real buzz kill.

I like a lot of the ideas given by the other people who responded.

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14 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

So I received homemade goodies a few times but many years ago (one was a banana bread -yum!) but these days it's really not a thing anymore because of allergies, and not knowing what the person's kitchen is like (I wouldn't consume anything homemade from a coworker personally).  I love that you made smoked ribs!  My office did used to do a holiday potluck for the huge number of employees but that was unusual.  Many years ago I made cookies for friends of mine as gifts or just because.  And in schools these days you can't do homemade anymore because of allergies -all has to be wrapped, labeled, etc.  

It's a really thoughtful gift for sure and nice of you to cook the holiday meal!

I was trying to encourage the OP who was thinking of making cookies. Rather than indulging in the minutiae of the modern world’s persnicketiness. I’m sure the OP has considered all of that.

For me i used to company kitchen for the meal and brought my smoker to the office; privilege of being the Executive Director. Plus I can ask about allergies with the on boarding; for the insurance and general safety of my employees.

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My vote goes towards a chocolate bar or hot cocoa packets. There are so many flavours to choose from as well.

Sure, not everyone likes sweets or is able to enjoy them due to dietary restrictions. Generally though they are a crowd-pleaser and are well received. Plus, a nice blanket pairs well with a chocolate bar or hot cocoa packet. Curling up with a blanket in front of the telly whilst drinking some yummy cocoa. Or reading a good book whilst eating some chocolate and keeping warm with a blanket. Priceless!

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10 hours ago, Alex39 said:

 but we typically spend $25. 

Do you mean $25 per person at work? And $25 per person for friends? 

Stay away from food items including alcoholic beverages. Everyone seems to have health concerns these days or allergies or on all sorts of whatever vegan, Paleo, gluten free, etc., etc., etc., diets. 

Perhaps review the nyt bestseller list and get a general interest book or simple smart phone accessory.

 

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11 hours ago, Coily said:

I was trying to encourage the OP who was thinking of making cookies. Rather than indulging in the minutiae of the modern world’s persnicketiness. I’m sure the OP has considered all of that.

For me i used to company kitchen for the meal and brought my smoker to the office; privilege of being the Executive Director. Plus I can ask about allergies with the on boarding; for the insurance and general safety of my employees.

That's great!  I wrote several times how thoughtful your gesture and efforts were.  I am in awe.  And I agree with Boltnrun.  Both are true.

It's not about persnickety if someone has a restriction or allergy.  Especially the latter.  We are so lucky in our family we don't but I've been uber-careful about the subject in alllll the class holiday parties/bday parties I've contributed to/brought stuff in for.  Some of it is persnickety and picky but the allergens are not.  And if someone can't eat pork or shellfish, or has other dietary restrictions, if it was prepared where there was "cross contamination" that's another issue. 

When I was pregnant I had to avoid soft cheeses so I called the place that was making sandwiches for our office meeting because mine had blue cheese dressing.  Expensive fancy place.  "Kraft" the person told me a little embarrassed (meaning not homemade and no risk to me) - but I had to ask. 

I didn't make anyone else call and I could have brought my own food, etc but that's not about persnickety at least to me.  So if a person is pregnant and not telling yet and someone brings something with alcohol or where the alcohol maybe didn't all evaporate, that gets to be awkward if it's homemade.  Just saying. 

Again what you did was amazing and I bet people still talk about it with loads of praise -well deserved.  

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12 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

That's great!  I wrote several times how thoughtful your gesture and efforts were.  I am in awe.  And I agree with Boltnrun.  Both are true.

It's not about persnickety if someone has a restriction or allergy.  Especially the latter.  We are so lucky in our family we don't but I've been uber-careful about the subject in alllll the class holiday parties/bday parties I've contributed to/brought stuff in for.  Some of it is persnickety and picky but the allergens are not.  And if someone can't eat pork or shellfish, or has other dietary restrictions, if it was prepared where there was "cross contamination" that's another issue. 

When I was pregnant I had to avoid soft cheeses so I called the place that was making sandwiches for our office meeting because mine had blue cheese dressing.  Expensive fancy place.  "Kraft" the person told me a little embarrassed (meaning not homemade and no risk to me) - but I had to ask. 

I didn't make anyone else call and I could have brought my own food, etc but that's not about persnickety at least to me.  So if a person is pregnant and not telling yet and someone brings something with alcohol or where the alcohol maybe didn't all evaporate, that gets to be awkward if it's homemade.  Just saying. 

Again what you did was amazing and I bet people still talk about it with loads of praise -well deserved.  

I’m deathly allergic to cinnamon, to the point even scented candles with it are a concern. So let’s stop this petty nitpicking and help the OP pick out great gifts? Can we do that without the lecture?

OP, the sampler pack ideas whether it’s personal care, or liquors, or teas, could all be really nice gifts. As long as you’re not breaking your budget. Also being some of this is work gifts, put as much effort in as everyone else in the office.

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1 minute ago, Coily said:

I’m deathly allergic to cinnamon, to the point even scented candles with it are a concern. So let’s stop this petty nitpicking and help the OP pick out great gifts? Can we do that without the lecture?

OP, the sampler pack ideas whether it’s personal care, or liquors, or teas, could all be really nice gifts. As long as you’re not breaking your budget. Also being some of this is work gifts, put as much effort in as everyone else in the office.

I didn't mean to lecture.  You are intent on ignoring how awesome I think it is what you did for your colleagues.  I literally could not do that.  I mean I could but I'd need lessons, help, and I'd likely mess it up.  I wasn't nitpicking and I believe a suggestion of homemade food is a bad idea.  That's all.  

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Just to add that my vote also goes towards gifting books. 😉 I love Wiseman's suggestion. I've done it before and it was wonderful!

Books are fantastic and pair well with blankets too! For the non-readers, display (coffee table) books are great. Beautiful photography that they can look through and the book is displayed nicely on their table. Otherwise, bestsellers are a good bet as bestsellers are, well, bestsellers for a reason. You can scout for discounts on Amazon or similar sites, local shops and whatnot. That way you economize on the gift giving making it look like you spent 25 without having actually spent that much. Win–win!

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You can never go wrong with money as ca$h is king.  ($15 Amazon, VISA, Starbucks if they want to treat themselves) Since you've already bought blankets, let people get what they want.  Not everyone wants candy, baked goods, books, food, alcohol, trinkets, brick-a-brack, knick knacks, etc.  Nowadays, a lot of people are very picky about their personal preferences so money allows them to truly get what they want, when they want on their terms which is most considerate and practical.  Or, they can get what they want at a discounted price by using your gift card.

Intentions by the gift giver are sincere.  However,  you want your gifts to be used and appreciated instead of received with the recipient's awkward, internal groans. 🙁  Some recipients are disappointed if the gift is not their favored choice. 🙄

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I gave gift cards to coworkers  one year and boy did I get into trouble! Apparently if the gift giving takes place at a work approved event the recipients have to declare the gift cards as income. However, I did it another year for people I actually supervised and my manager chose to keep it quiet lol.

If it's just level coworkers it shouldn't be a problem, AFAIK.

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I've received gifts which I do not like and while the thought was nice by the gift giver, I feel that the equivalent of what they've spent on my gift is what I would've appreciated the most.  It doesn't have to be a lot of money either. 

I've receieved candy, snacks, unopened baked goods, food, etc which unfortunately were discarded.  Or, I gave it to someone who would actually eat it.  I've received liquor despite being a teetotaler.  Liquor went down the drain.  I've received a ton of candles which I've since donated.  If I want to read particular books, I prefer to peruse my local library.  With all due respect, I have a lot of blankets already.  I have a lot of "stuff."  I don't need anymore.  I have toiletries.  I have all of that.  A little gift card or anything anyone can afford is appreciated the most and I'll definitely use it.  Other items will end up re-gifted (if I KNOW it will be eaten or used), in the trash can,  charity donation bag or at the church rummage sale. 

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On 12/10/2022 at 10:09 AM, lostandhurt said:

It kind of depends if they are country mice or city mice.

Gloves and scarfs are good ideas.  Wind chimes are nice as well as a nice picture frame.  If they have a dog or cat they talk about then a pet styled picture frame they could put on their desk is thoughtful.

Also a movie night kit with stuff in it like milk duds, popcorn, twizzlers and the like.

These can be age dependent so keep that in mind.

Good luck, you still have time 😃

Lost

OMG I love the movie night kit idea! I've never thought of that before. What is Twizzlers? I'm assuming chocolate of some sort?

Also I laughed a bit because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere so it's summer here. If you gave someone gloves and a scarf for Christmas they'd be boiling lol 

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Question, for work is this a Kris Kringle/Secret Santa? Do you have to bring only one gift for work and then everyone will choose a gift? Or are you giving every colleague their own gift? If you're doing Secret Santa, you could put a mug and plate with the blanket? Both males and females can use that. I probably would avoid giving food because people could have special dietary requirements.

My suggestion for your friends would be to give them things they're into. I try to avoid giving my friends just generic things like a soap or candle. Unless they are actually really into them. For example, my best friend loves gingerbread men and doing jigsaw puzzles, so I got her those things. Another friend loves cats so I gave her things with cats. 

Something I sometimes do, if I have someone on Facebook, I look at their Facebook profile to get gift ideas. You can look under their "likes" for example to see what TV shows, movies, bands, organisations they've liked. Then you could get them something related to that.

Sometimes people will also post about things that might give you ideas. Like, they might post something they cooked or made. Or places they visited. One of my friends for example posts vegan food she cooks. So an option might be to give her a vegan cookbook or voucher to a vegan cafe or restaurant.

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