Author Topic: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?  (Read 7849 times)

Rural

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$20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« on: November 13, 2018, 06:52:11 PM »
So it appears that one family gathering at least is going to require $20 Secret Santa gifts of all adult attendees. These have to be generic, no thoughtful targeting to one person based on tastes, needs, etc, because there's no good way to predict who will get it. We've done this thing for years at this gathering, and every single year two such "gifts" go straight to the thrift store box once my husband and I get home. I imagine some relatives deposit the things in the trash instead - hell, I've been tempted just to get them out of my house/ keep them from entering the house in the first place.


So, do you guys have any ideas for gifts in the $20 range that any adult might like and that won't just get thrown out, don't involve tons of packaging (to get thrown out), won't produce tons of waste in themselves (and probably that aren't candy as we have many dieters)?


While we're on the subject, are there any good ideas for non-wasteful wrapping out there? I don't have time for sewing before all the events start, unfortunately.


Once we lose a couple of elders who get great joy from this, I'm going to sit it out and social consequences be damned, but for now, there's the issue of elderly relatives without much else to look forward to, and I'm unwilling to go that far. So far.

yodella

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2018, 06:58:24 PM »
Food!

We have a neighborhood gathering with the same price point, and this year I'm thinking of assembling an "Oreo sampler pack." Basically by buying one each of all the various Oreo flavors I can find. At $3/package it will be about 7 packages. A crazy amount of Oreos to be sure but kind of fun to try the various kinds that you might not buy yourself.

You could also put together a nice chocolate assortment in a basket or gift bag.

Steeze

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2018, 07:01:19 PM »
We did a secret Santa last year, I asked for a used settler of catan. Was a solid investment.

Steeze

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2018, 07:04:25 PM »
Also booze or wine is always good.

MrsDinero

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2018, 07:04:45 PM »
I second food.  You can give a bag of apples, pears, infused olive oils, or cookies, etc.  Basically anything edible is giftable. 

Handmade soaps are also a good gift.  At one of the yankee swap things I attended last year, cold pressed soaps were a sought after gift.

Zikoris

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2018, 07:06:38 PM »
Some sort of bath stuff? One of my coworkers did that last year. She found some stuff that had a gender-neutral scent (I think it was sandalwood) and put together maybe two or three little bottles of soaps and lotions in a gift bag.

I received a gift bag with fancy coffee beans and Bailey's at that party, which was also a good gift idea, I though. Though I don't drink coffee or alcohol, so it became my aunt's Christmas gift shortly after.

hops

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2018, 07:08:58 PM »
We've given away almost every Secret Santa gift we've received, with the exception of a nice fleece throw and a flashlight.

CNM

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2018, 07:10:49 PM »
A candle. My farmer's market sells beeswax candles that smell nice and have zero packaging.  Plus they're "local" so cooler than just a random Yankee candle.

tralfamadorian

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2018, 07:12:42 PM »
Another vote for consumables. Homemade limoncello is a mustachian but popular option.

snogirl

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2018, 07:16:06 PM »
Real maple syrup
This place is near me so good! Their mail order business through the roof
https://aprilsmaple.com/

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« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 07:18:01 PM by snogirl »

ChpBstrd

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2018, 07:21:26 PM »
Give a charitable donation.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2018, 07:27:23 PM »
Gift Card?
An umbrella?
Books?
Gloves?
Scarf?
Picture frame?

FallenTimber

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2018, 08:16:07 PM »
Local honey
Cookbook (A popular one, not the bargain rack at B&N)
Netflix gift card
Homemade hot sauce
Wild game meat
Smoked salmon
Local brewery growler
Wireless cell phone charger
Knitted beanie

Just a few ideas from gifts weíve given in the past.

degrom7

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2018, 08:28:50 PM »
Get an amazon echo dot


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okits

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2018, 12:24:51 AM »
If most family participating is from a culture or generation that still does handwritten correspondence, a book of stamps and a nice stationery or note card set.

Good quality coffee beans.  Easily regifted and will be appreciated by someone.

A sturdy umbrella is always handy.

Villanelle

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2018, 02:55:27 AM »
I tend to bring wine or booze to those things.  Assuming most of the group aren't teetotalers, it's usually a fairly safe bet.

Also, gift cards (the more generic, the better, to think Amazon or perhaps a local grocery store chain if everyone is from the same area, or a major gas station, or iTunes if it's a tech-y or young crowd, or a major movie theater).

alsoknownasDean

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2018, 03:43:10 AM »
I'd buy fancy tea (probably nicer bagged tea rather than loose leaf, unless you include the strainer) in that situation, but most of my family are tea drinkers so it's a fairly easy bet that it'll end up with someone who will enjoy it.

Rural

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2018, 04:33:30 AM »
 Wow, thanks everyone. Maybe this will all be useful for more than just me this year.


I'll have to steer away from anything scented like the bath products or candles (serious allergies), but otherwise those are great ideas for someone in a similar situation. I'm uncertain on the booze, but I might get away with one of the two gifts my husband and I need to take being alcohol (no teetotalers or recovering alcoholics, but there are children involved and older folks on medications that don't mix well).


I'd go with a flashlight but that's a good idea that was stumbled on at this gathering several years mpback, and now there are usually several involved. I've done the cell phone charger myself in the past, but I've decided good ones are really a little above the $20 range and I don't want to give a lower quality one that will die and hit the landfill faster. Gift cards would come across as a passive aggressive refusal to participate with this crew, sadly. They point up the pointlessness of an exchange of equal value crap without even a specific participant in mind. They also make the most sense, that or just tying a bow on a twenty-dollar bill.


Maybe the coffee, but the younger ones likely would turn up noses at preground and the older won't have a grinder. I tried tea one year - turns out I'm the only real tea drinker.

But a good, solid umbrella won't get thrown out. Maybe the local honey from the area where I am, or other fancy edibles. Actually there's a local bakery that does very regional, traditional items, run by a local religious group. Maybe a gift box from there and then either good whiskey or local honey.

I think I have a difficult crew. Or maybe I just care too much about finding something no one will hate since I don't know who will get it.

Thanks again, all. Keep the good ideas coming if you have them. I can't be the only one who will face a situation like this in the coming weeks.

SnackDog

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2018, 04:48:27 AM »
I once took a ceramic chicken to one of these events and it was the hot gift of the night. Everyone stole the damn thing.  I don't know why. It was ugly.

slappy

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2018, 05:43:51 AM »
Real maple syrup
This place is near me so good! Their mail order business through the roof
https://aprilsmaple.com/

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This place is near me too! Well, near where I grew up. I'm in southern NH now.

I'm a red panda

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2018, 06:24:32 AM »
Nice jellies or mustards?

Tickets to a movie theater?

Board/card game?

Reusable straws?

Pop socket or phone stand accessory?

smalllife

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2018, 06:27:05 AM »
Movie tickets and candy - it's received less like a gift card and more like a night out.

Roadrunner53

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2018, 07:26:31 AM »
A first aid kit

A gardening basket with seeds, trowel, flower bulbs

A basket with a variety of K cups (hot choc, tea, coffee), two mugs (dollar store), line basket with a new colorful dishcloth, some kind of cookies in sleeves

A bottle of gourmet vinegar and olive oil

Make a snack bundle. Individual bags of chips, nuts, cookies, popcorn

Martinelli sparkling apple cranberry, 2 wine glasses, some cashews

A nice pen, some post it notes, pads of paper

An at a glance yearly planner, pen

Grocery store gift card, gas card, Bed Bath and Beyond gift card plus find a 20% off coupon to add to it.

Crossword puzzle and word search books with pens and candybars or chocolate kisses

Soup!  https://www.amazon.com/Imagine-Organic-Soup-Savory-Black/dp/B0091DZHBE/ref=sr_1_17_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1542205449&sr=1-17-spons&keywords=soup&th=1










Sugaree

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2018, 07:45:03 AM »

Tickets to a movie theater?


This is what I would suggest.  I like going to the movies, but have a hard time justifying the cost these days. 

GuitarStv

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2018, 08:03:41 AM »
I usually give toilet paper in these types of things.  Everyone needs it.  It won't end up in a landfill either (although it will in the sewers).  :P

slappy

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2018, 08:18:53 AM »
I usually give toilet paper in these types of things.  Everyone needs it.  It won't end up in a landfill either (although it will in the sewers).  :P

Haha brilliant. I would personally be thrilled!

I'm a red panda

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2018, 08:32:26 AM »
I usually give toilet paper in these types of things.  Everyone needs it.  It won't end up in a landfill either (although it will in the sewers).  :P

For a "white elephant" stealing type exchange this is brilliant.

I mean I guess for a "serious, nice gift" it is actually brilliant too, I just don't know if it would be received that way.

Roadrunner53

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2018, 08:51:22 AM »
I usually give toilet paper in these types of things.  Everyone needs it.  It won't end up in a landfill either (although it will in the sewers).  :P

How about adding canned baked beans with the TP as an added bonus!

GuitarStv

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2018, 09:05:35 AM »
I usually give toilet paper in these types of things.  Everyone needs it.  It won't end up in a landfill either (although it will in the sewers).  :P

How about adding canned baked beans with the TP as an added bonus!

No need for canned, I make my own baked beans in the slow cooker thank you very much.

https://www.ricardocuisine.com/en/recipes/5043-slow-cooker-baked-beans-with-maple-syrup-

snogirl

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2018, 09:12:02 AM »
Real maple syrup
This place is near me so good! Their mail order business through the roof
https://aprilsmaple.com/

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

This place is near me too! Well, near where I grew up. I'm in southern NH now.
Awesome! Yes I just moved from over by Lake Champlain to retire in IP.  April's is my favorite place. The family super nice!
Great ideas here for inexpensive gifts in this thread. So awesome

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dcozad999

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2018, 09:20:58 AM »
I found this at target the other day and had a lot of fun messing with my 7 and 2 year old. Too much fun really.

So I bought it for the white elephant exchange game at work (or whatever it's called).

https://www.amazon.com/Zany-Toys-No-Sound-Button/dp/B0098LH0XW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542212323&sr=8-1&keywords=zany+no+button+gag+gift

Poundwise

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2018, 09:25:53 AM »
Potted herb or flower? Find and clean a planter from Goodwill, or upcycle a tin can.

How about a nice portable sewing kit? Or a tool?
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 09:35:53 AM by Poundwise »

BeanCounter

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2018, 09:30:27 AM »
We've done lottery scratch offs for the dirty Santa game. (where you pick or steal). And they usually go around a few times. Could be a good gift, could be a white elephant. Just depends what you get after all the trading is done and you scratch them off.
I also like gifts of alcohol, box of fancy coffee/tea/cocoa, and movie tickets and candy (but two tickets plus candy often go over $20 I don't worry about that, but others do.
I also like the idea of a fun umbrella. I feel like I always need a new umbrella.

Shinplaster

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2018, 10:04:26 AM »
Non alcoholic apple or pear cider.  We gave locally bottled pear cider last year to family, and it was a huge hit.  No worries then about people who don't drink alcohol, but still something special.

If you have access to maple sugar places, try maple butter.  Everyone thinks it will be really sweet before tasting it, but it is less sweet than honey.  Great on toast or plain bread, and a little in your coffee is nice too.

GizmoTX

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2018, 10:36:28 AM »
I love the TP idea! Our families do the Grab Gift thing every year & it's tough to come up with new ideas, especially since we travel there by air. TSA forced me to discard a tool I ended up with one time, so we always have to trade stuff like that away. One time I contributed a rubber chicken (dog toy) & it was a huge hit, go figure! Plus it now makes a surprise appearance every year (accompanied by a gift card) & each year's 'winner' signs it -- fun. In recent years I have been bringing something I want to end up with. Otherwise I don't mind the exchange, as it satisfies our family's fondness for present opening without being a big expense.

Rosy

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2018, 11:14:23 AM »
1. Our local market has a stand with "all natural" goat milk products - soap is super popular -no scents-no allergies:)!
But you can order it online at Amazon, incl. hand cream or lotion.
Wrapping - three bars of soap around $15. - wrap in a X-mas themed hand towel. Voila - no packaging.

2. One much appreciated gift by everyone is those magnetic To Do lists for your fridge - everyone loves them and uses them. They are $2.99 for the nice big ones with sturdy magnets on the back, at Marshal's and Tuesday Morning.
You could do a set of three, perhaps with a couple of extra fridge magnets and one three pack of really nice roller pens.

3. Emergency power outage - first aid kit for your car - mini flashlight for your key ring - fat white emergency candles - canned heat - flashlight to keep in your car -  a box of matches that is windproof and waterproof - camping lantern - weather radio.

We'll be doing a Secret Santa thing too and in our crowd - good coffee beans - gourmet snacks and food-it is so easy to do a football snack basket, the guys love those:) - booze and home and garden gifts are the winners along with camping and emergency supplies since we live in hurricane country.

4. So this year - I'll do a super pack of good quality batteries along with those long bbq lighters and perhaps a set of three Glade candles - they have lovely scents like apple/cinammon (but our crowd likes all the perfumey scents) and Glade always offers special holiday scents in a nicer format - our crowd loves and uses those and they are a lot less than a fancy Yankee candle.

5. Also, practical things like a portable rectangle shopping container for the trunk of your car - the kind that also has an insulated compartment. Some people like those collapsible boxes - two decent quality ones will be around $20.

I do bake cookies for those who enjoy them - in that regard I've used all sorts of wrapping ideas, from placing them in a dog or cat food specialty container to a gingerbread house tin.
Simple to do: a set of 2-3-4 food containers ($1 at the dollar store - sometimes they even have nice Christmas ones in the right size) and filled one with cookies, set it on a plastic or ceramic plate ($1 from the dollar store) for balance then wrapped the whole thing in a holiday kitchen towel. Tie with ribbon up top or cut a strip of fabric with pinking shears and use that for an original tie.

6. You can also fill a container with emergency food for 72 hrs - you know, cans of tuna - peanut butter - Nutella - crackers - nuts - tea bags-instant coffee - muesli - energy bars.
If you go that route you can put a small flashlight with a carrying handle and extra batteries, matches and a small emergency candle, ibuprofen, aspirin and an antibacterial cream in another container.   

These days I just hand out a pretty metal tin with the cookies inside wrapped in parchment paper. I'm an old lady, you better appreciate that I took a whole day to bake some macaroons or vanilla cookies etc. from scratch:) and I'm lucky because yes, they do.
Sometimes I splurge on the tin ($3.99 or so) if I see a really pretty one, mostly I get the dollar store ones. I need the tins so the cookies stay fresh and don't get banged up by the time we travel to everyone's house for X-mas.

This year I'll let one set of the family know that I'm done with gifts - just home baked cookies and a hostess gift from us this year. We all have more than enough and I'm sure the younger ones will be delighted to finally stop the gift exchange.
I've tried with our friends with no success, but will bring it up again this year - things have changed some so I think it will fall on more receptive ears.
The other big set of friends - sigh - there is one old family matriarch that just will not allow the out of control gift giving to die.


whitewaterchica

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2018, 11:20:25 AM »
For wrapping paper- I love using brown craft paper to wrap gifts. You can add things like real leaves, pine branches and/or cones, or flowers to dress it up. Jute twine makes for a nice ribbon and it can easily be recycled, composted, or used to start a fire. The paper and twine are always at dollar tree.

Ditto everyone with the gift card and food suggestions.

AMandM

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2018, 11:31:40 AM »
For wrapping food gifts, use a tea towel. For bath products, use a hand towel. For a tool-type gifts, use a shop rag. etc.

lexde

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2018, 11:51:22 AM »
Handmade soaps (Etsy is good, Mrs. MM has some great soaps at about $5 ea); a decent bottle of wine; pedicure kit; cozy throw blanket; etc.

Catbert

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2018, 12:28:32 PM »
Electronic 20 questions game.  Something like this

https://www.amazon.com/QUESTIONS-ELECTRONIC-GAME-Colors-Vary/dp/B000IVENWW

I was gifted one 10 years or so ago and it was the hit of the day.  Good for kids as well as adults.  DH tried to stump the game the first time with "carburetor" and was completely amazed that the game figured it out.

   

diapasoun

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2018, 01:26:28 PM »
I once took a ceramic chicken to one of these events and it was the hot gift of the night. Everyone stole the damn thing.  I don't know why. It was ugly.

We once brought a pug cookie jar that was the first present to get locked down. It was incredibly ugly, and I think that's why people were into it -- shameless pug-lovin'.

Also, this thread is honestly just a great gift list overall! Helping me to figure out a few things for some of my harder-to-gift folks....

Cassie

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2018, 01:32:52 PM »
We do a white elephant gift exchange with friends but it has to be something you made or already own.  When itís over people frequently trade which l great. I have made scarves, given consumables and costume jewelry that I got for a gift but didnít want.

NV Teacher

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2018, 02:14:37 PM »
One year my mom did breakfast in a box.  She put in a dozen eggs, pound of sausage, frozen oj, pkg of english muffins, a small bunch of bananas, cheese, and a half gallon of milk.  Everyone loved it.

AMandM

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2018, 06:38:37 PM »
A pair of wool socks used as wrapping for some hand/footwarmer packages.

Rural

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2018, 06:46:10 PM »
New idea: USB-rechargeable AA batteries.

iris lily

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2018, 10:12:32 PM »
Please, no bath stuff or artisan soap or candles. Justóno.

Booze. A slightly fancy coffee, but nothing overly flavored. Expensive cashews and other high end nuts.

wordnerd

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2018, 10:48:28 PM »
Please, no bath stuff or artisan soap or candles. Justóno.

Booze. A slightly fancy coffee, but nothing overly flavored. Expensive cashews and other high end nuts.

This is correct on every level. You can buy me gifts anytime.

RetiredAt63

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #47 on: November 16, 2018, 07:27:55 AM »
I just got given a gift basket, and the nicest thing in it is a small jar of honey with honeycomb.  Yum.  (The rest is good too, but that is the highlight).

Any non-perishable food can be re-gifted.  Red wine gives me a headache, so when I get given red wine it gets passed on to someone who can appreciate it.


SheWhoWalksAtLunch

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #48 on: November 16, 2018, 07:45:08 AM »
Fire extinguishers.  Everyone needs at least one and most people keep the one they have long past its natural lifetime.  The size that fits well on a kitchen counter or in the trunk of your car looks (and shakes) a lot like a bottle of wine when wrapped up in a box. 

ChpBstrd

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Re: $20 gifts that won't be in a landfill in six weeks?
« Reply #49 on: November 16, 2018, 07:45:55 AM »
Precious metals like silver coins?
Nobody gives antiques. I've always found that interesting.