They say the giving of a gift is reward enough, but gift-givers may feel miffed if they don’t get an acknowledgment in return. That’s where the ancient art of thank-you notes comes in, allowing you to express appreciation for what you’ve received. [More]
Sometimes people want things for the wrong reasons, setting their sights on items while failing to realize alternatives that will fill their needs just as well, if not better. The problem often pops up in gift-giving, when givers seek to impress recipients with flashy, well-known products, disregarding their usefulness. [More]
There are some occasions in which cars can be gifts. Say, you turn 16 and your parents give you the hunk of junk in the garage that barely runs. Or you’re on The Price is Right and Drew Carey tells you you’ve just won one. Other than that, the image — popularized by commercials — of a new car with a giant bow on it sitting in the driveway on Christmas morning are nothing more than an attempt at inception by ad wizards. [More]
If you’ve had a rough financial year, or are simply sick of running the stress-inducing hamster wheel of gift exchanges, perhaps you’d like a present-free holiday season. [More]
Finally science has quantified that feeling of disappointment when you open up an envelope and Christmas card to find that a donation to a charity has been made in your name instead of cash or a gift card. [More]
A money-saving-themed blog called, well, “Money Saving Blog,” chooses not to gripe about the Christmas Creep and instead roll with it, putting together a well-crafted and seemingly comprehensive guide on how to avoid being hosed by the holidays by budgeting for trips and gifts and scaling down expenses as necessary due to economic circumstances.
Need gift ideas? Curbly user ModHomeEcTeacher has put together a list of 45 different holiday gift guides from around the web. [Curbly]
Wouldn’t it be great if you could email your holiday wish list to friends and family without seeming like a self-indulgent clod? Well, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that several stores now feature self-promoting wish lists that magically email themselves or generate sales calls to potential gift givers.
Like candy canes and drunken family dinners, gift cards have become a Christmas staple. Bankrate has reviewed a wide number of them and published the results to help you pick the best one for your needs. To avoid fees, you should stick with “closed-loop” cards—that is, a card issued by a specific retailer for use only with that retailer. Almost all retailers now offer cards that don’t expire and don’t charge maintenance fees, with the notable exceptions of Macy’s and Bloomingdales, whose cards both expire two years after purchase. However, several retailers—CVS, for example—still charge “dormancy” fees on cards that have been inactive for anywhere from 6 to 24 months, so be sure to check the fine print to see how this is addressed.
This professor of finance proposes you take all the fun out of wildly overspending on last-minute gifts for friends and family, and replace it with the measured, predictable joy of a spreadsheet. However, if you follow his advice, the odds will be much better that you’ll end the year with healthier checking and credit card accounts.