A perennial holiday goal of mine is to find gifts that people actually want that don't cost too much.
So this year my hunt is on for "good gifts for $25 or less."
Of course, gift cards are usually the most popular one-size-fits-all gift that people say they want, but if you are looking for something a little more personal, here are a few ideas:
Put together your own personalized gift bag/basket of goodies. Pulling together special treats for special people is fun and there are lots of good places to do your pulling from. Here are three good bets:
•Trader Joe's. Grab a bottle of wine, some fancy pasta, a bottle of TJ sauce and some good olive oil. Or perhaps a box of Trader Joe's truffles, a bag of nice coffee and some special cookies. Or a combination of their cheeses coupled with a bottle of wine, and you are all set.
•World Market. Make a goodie bag with a nice candle, some specialty olives and gourmet cookies, or a personalized pizza package with crust, sauce and Italian cheese mix. Both come in well under the $25 limit.
•Walmart. A super cool gift (literally) is the knockoff YETI, Walmart's Ozark Trail stainless steel tumbler that keeps hot hot and cold cold for hours on end. The biggie 30-ounce Ozark Trail is $9.74 compared to the same size YETI at $39.99. Grab a pair and hand them out as gifts.
•Flowers. Flowers can do the trick. You can get a nice orchid for $15 or less, and they last a long time with proper care. And this time of year the boxed, ready-to-go amaryllis and paper whites are a bargain at $7 or $8 and reward you with a spectacular show.
•Movie tickets. Buy them online or at the theater, or you can even get them at a discount if you are a AAA member.
•Coloring books for adults. They are so hot for adults these days. And there are a lot of choices. You could pair a fun one with a box of colored pencils and have a nice gift for well under $25. And there are free printable coloring pages online, too, that you could add as a bonus.
•Portable phone chargers. "Pocket Juice" from Best Buy can be had for as little as $4.99 for a one charge model, up to $24.99 for one that holds three charges.
•Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Another techie gift is a Portable Bluetooth Speaker that will work with your smartphone, tablet or other device. You can get one for as little as $9.99 at Best Buy.
•Kid's books. A fun gift for little ones would be a collection of four or five of the Little Golden Book classics, such as "The Poky Little Puppy," "The Little Red Hen" and "The Please and Thank You Book." These are $4.99 each and retro enough to be fun for the giver and the receiver.
•Picture frame. These days, when everyone is a photographer, a nice picture frame is a welcome gift for lots of people on your list. Nearly every gift and home store has a good selection of frames at all price points and there are some great beveled glass ones (7 inches by 9 inches and 4 inches by 6 inches) fro $25 at Fabu on Charlotte Pike.
And if you just have to go the gift card route, a salon gift card toward a manicure or pedicure is usually a welcome gift for many ladies and some men, too, or get a gift card to a restaurant that you know the recipient likes.