Thursday, December 13, 2012

What to buy for Gift Swaps

There is so much to love about this time of year - the decor, the sweets, the carols, and the fun times with family and friends. With those fun times, however, comes an event that I have a love/hate relationship with - gift swaps.

I have 4 different ones this year, people. It is hard enough to think of one gift for this kind of game, let alone 4!! Thankfully, 2 of them are quite easy to buy for. The other 2 have to be more specific, important gifts. I thought I'd share the things I purchased for these gifts, and hopefully it will spark some ideas for you, too!

I've very picky about the Christmas gifts I buy. I put a ton of thought into every one. Yes, that usually means I'm scrambling at the last minute to get everything done {cough} but I would rather take my time and come out with a meaningful gift that the recipient will truly be able to enjoy.

The same goes for these gift swap gifts. I don't just want to get a generic Christmas tin and fill it with chocolate - although chocolate isn't a bad thing - I want my gift to show that I put some thought into it and really cared about the recipient...whoever he/she may be! Thankfully we have a terrific Dollar store here with lots of items that are name-brand things - for cheap{er}. I bought everything for these gifts there, which helped save some precious dollars!

My first gift is for this Sunday afternoon, and we were instructed to bring a small, under $10 gift to keep things fair. Here are the items I picked up to put my gift together:

small gift

Let's look at those items more closely. This gold basket is the base of my gift:

gold basket

And this candle holder will take center stage. I love how simple and pretty it is! It has a snowflake design on the outside, and a neat bubble design on the inside.

candle holder

I also picked up a pretty sparkly candle and some striped mints - red and green, of course!

I popped the candle into the holder {after taking off the plastic...don't want a fire hazard!}

candle in holder

I just love the reflection of the red candle in that neat bubbly design!!

Then I just centered the whole thing in the basket and put the mints around the outside. How easy was that?

basket all together

I was a little concerned about the candies falling out of the basket, and they are small enough to slip through the wires, but thankfully being all smushed together in there actually helps keep them from falling out. {Thankgoodness}

top view

I love that this gift is functional {basket can be used to actually store things, or in another Christmas display}, practical {we all burn candles at Christmas!}, edible {the person receiving this probably will need a breath mint after our dinner Sunday}, and beautiful! What a win win type of gift!

Oh, and as for the cost of this present:

Gold basket $2
Candle holder $2
Candle $1.25
Mints $1
Total cost: $6.25 + tax

close up

My second gift needed to be entirely different. It is geared just toward a lady {I know, my other gift was quite feminine too, but I can't help it!} and needed to be a $10+ gift. Again, I turned to the aisle of my precious dollar store for some fantastic finds!

I started with this large, Christmas-y bowl:

large bowl

I absolutely adore the colors red and white at Christmas! As you saw in my room decor, that is my color scheme for pretty much anything I do this time of year. I had to follow that theme with this gift! I hunted through the store and picked up a bunch of red and white kitchen items to fill the bowl.

large gift

Here are the specific things I picked up:

large gift contents

I couldn't leave out that cute candle!

close up of candle

Then I all but threw the items into the bowl, and it turned out perfect!

finished gift

Ok, I didn't throw them, but I did not organize them whatsoever - just plopped them in the bowl from largest to smallest, and loved the look!

close up of finished gift

I'm planning to wrap it like you would a fruit basket, just gather some wrapping paper around and tie it at the top with a big bow. I'll probably stick some tissue paper in amongst the different items as well, because I love using lots of tissue paper in wrapping gifts! {wink!}

top view of large gift

Here is an item breakdown for this gift:

Large bowl: $2
Tablecloth $2
Oven mitts $3
Dish cloths $1
Towel $1.25
Measuring cups $2
Whisk $2
Candle $1.25
Total: $14.50 + tax

Not expensive by any means, but a bit over that $10 minimum limit, so that is good! I certainly could have filled it with other cheaper things. I considered filling it with Christmas decor {ornaments, bulbs, lights, garland, etc.} or even with some "wrapping station" type items {tags, ribbons, bows, tape, red and green pens, etc.} The possibilities really are endless, depending on what items are more readily available to you, and how much you have to spend on one particular gift.

I'm super pleased with how both of these presents turned out, and happy that these purchases have been made so I don't have to think about it any more. {wink!} Now I just have to finish up the handmade items I'm making, {ahem} and my gifts will be complete!

I'd love to hear what ideas these gifts sparked in your mind. What else could I have included in the large bowl? Which route do you think you would have gone? What great gift ideas do you have for your gift exchanges this year?


  1. We have a gift exchange tomorrow night and we are supposed to bring something used...not trade! It's a neat idea...but I have no idea what I am going to bring????? I will have to look around tomorrow!

    1. I had one like that too...thankfully we have a great thrift store here with cute, gently used Christmas-y items. You could always re-gift something you got but don't use, or a kitchen "gadget" you don't use...lots of possibilities! Have a fun time! =)


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