I got an email last week from a reader I can really empathize with. Jen’s an adult putting herself through college so she doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on Christmas presents. That means right about this time of year she’s probably getting that panicky, doomsday feeling. You may have experienced it yourself and didn’t even know it was a genuine, ailment. In the June, 1997 issue of Pretend Medical Journal the condition was given a name; GeezIhopeyoudon’tbuymeapresentcauseIcan’taffordtobuyyouoneitus.
In layman’s terms – Pathetic present syndrome.
I can relate to Jen’s dilemma. There were years, when I had to handmake my gifts not because I wanted to but because I had to. Who hasn’t had to resort to “The Coupon Book” at some point in their lives? Good for one free massage, one taking out of the garbage, one Romanian sexual favour …
So Jen asked me what she could buy for each of her family members that would cost $15 or less but didn’t look it. She can’t sew, can’t can and isn’t particularly crafty. So Jen … this is for you and everyone out there who needs to buy a small gift for an office exchange, teacher or neighbour.
Jen described her oldest sister as a working professional, her other sister as an artsy/crafty girl with canning and gardening tendencies and her mother as liking odd, one of a kind things. For $15 or less the first thing that came to mind was bringing my glowing outdoor orbs, inside.
$3 for each shade, $6 for the twinkle lights = $12
This idea should work for at least one of the women.
Other $15 Gift ideas …
Secretly plant $15 worth of daffodils or tulips. Tell them they’ll get their gift in the spring.
$15 worth of little plastic kitchen gadgets like this. Take the labels off so they have to guess what they are.
An old, cracked leatherbound book.
A personalized photo calendar.
Vintage tea towels tied up with twine.
A small glass French Press. French Presses make the best coffee. $10-$15 (add in a very small bag of good coffee if you can afford it)
This 10.5″ writing slate for $12, along with some chalk and a frame stand from The Dollar Store would look great on any kitchen counter.
$15 iTunes card
A french butter bell
Make a pillow out of an old sweater.
Salt & Pepper shakers. From modern to vintage – I for one, have never met a set of salt and pepper shakers I didn’t like. Make sure you package them beautifully in a small box with tissue paper or pine shavings and nice wrapping paper and a bow.
That’s my quick list of ideas. Now, I have a request of you. You there. The one reading this post. Yeah, YOU. I’d like all of you to add any suggestions you have for a $15 present in the comment section.
So in times of Pathetic Present Syndrome, like Jen’s experiencing now, we can all refer back to this list and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing something on this list will be the perfect present for that sister, mother, neighbour, co-worker. Or blog writer. Can’t forget the blog writers.