When you begin your holiday shopping ahead of time–some of you consider October early, I know, but others actually begin in the spring!–you have the ability to collect items that will make creative and meaningful gifts. I have mentioned Free-Gifting before, where you use the freebies and almost-freebies from The Drugstore Game and other sources to create gifts. Between now and the holidays, you can collect items at your favorite drugstore each week, request freebies, and pull them together into a creative and thoughtful gift. Here are four ideas to get you started (and for those of you not comfortable with an entirely “free” gift, I included suggestions to beef them up a bit):
1) Frequent Flier: Stuff a stocking or fill a basket with trial-sized toiletries, small snacks, a magazine and a neck pillow (Yes, they sell these at CVS. I bought one for my sister last year).
Want to spend more? Add a luggage tag or gift certificate to a restaurant in the destination city.
2) Snack Attack: Perfect for a sports fan on game day! CVS has plastic bowls in their dollar aisle; fill it with chips, nuts, candy, and soda.
Want to spend more? Add a Blockbuster Gift Card for a movie-themed gift or a Team hat or shirt for your sports fan.
3) Just for Her: Expand on my original Free-Gifting goodie bag. Include lip gloss, bath products, soap, nail polish and file, scented lotion, etc.
Want to spend more? Add a gift certificate for a haircut or massage, anything pampering!
4) Get Well Soon: As a mom who never gets a “sick day,” I would love to receive a basket of goodies just for myself–tissues, Tylenol, cough drops, a bottle of water, a magazine, and some chocolate (of course!)–to save myself the time and trouble of taking the kids out on a day I'm not well.
Want to spend more? Add a gift card for local takeout or dinner so Mom doesn't have to cook!
Of course, each of these individual freebie items makes fabulous stocking stuffers for everyone in the family. Last year, my family all got free Duracell batteries from CVS, and they loved them! Either way, you've found a creative way to save money on your holiday gifts while playing The Drugstore Game (if you're not familiar with CVS and other drugstore shopping, check out CFO's primer). Free-gifting also allows you to gift people you may not otherwise, such as teachers, neighbors and servicepeople. Without stretching your budget, you can show your appreciation and thanks in a thoughtful way.
Read more in my Holiday Shopping Series.