Gift-giving is a great hobby for some, but many nurses are tired and not in the mood to do holiday shopping. You might feel like you’re expected to search for the “greatest gift ever” for a Christmas gathering… even when we know the perfect gift doesn’t exist.

So, what are some alternatives to buying gifts when you don’t want to? Read on to find ways to find a great gift without spending too much time and money at a store.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go for an Easy Gift, But. Choose Meaning Over Value

When buying gifts for others, you often think they want something flashy or expensive. It might be because of our consumer culture or because we’re often taught that bigger is better. Whatever the reason is, more often than not, people value gifts that hold meaning for them.

Reframe what an easy gift looks like. Think of what the other person will value for a long time and what’s easiest for you. It doesn’t have to be an item— it can be a personal experience, such as a day trip to a concert, a nice dinner, or an escape room.

Or, if you don’t have any ideas, try a gift basket with items they like and use, like carry-on hand sanitizers or hand lotion.

Gift cards are acceptable, too. You can say, “Listen, I love you, but I’m tired this year. Here’s a $25 gift card to Amazon.” Or something along those lines, but in a genuine way to tell them that you put effort into the gift. This is a great option for younger nieces and nephews who could use extra money, especially if someone you know shops at Amazon.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Regift

You might encounter a situation (like a holiday swap party) where you have regifted an item before. In some situations, regifting is fine— but be careful who you regift to. If you give to the same group of friends and family, someone might realize they got a passed down gift from two Christmases ago.

Think about the person who you’re gifting to. What do they do for fun? If they’re not into snacks, then they might not love the $5 caramel popcorn tin you snagged on your way to the shampoo at Target. But if they collect candles, they might like your unused Yankee candle that smells like marshmallows at a campfire.

It might not feel like an excellent idea to regift something you owned first, but if the item is new and you’re giving it to a close family member or a friend you know well, this is usually not a problem. Just ensure it’s an item you’re confident they’ll like or use. Other things to note when regifting are to make sure any name tags aren’t showing or if the item wasn’t handmade or personalized for someone else.

If you’re still having second thoughts about regifting, consider doing this if you have an extra item at hand to avoid hurting their feelings. That way, when they ask about the item, you can be transparent and tell them that you thought of them in mind when you received an extra one and wanted to give it to them personally.

Ask Them Directly What They Want

If all else fails, you can always ask for what they want. Some people might like a surprise gift, but it can be better to buy someone a gift they’re expecting so that they don’t get a gift they have to pretend to like.

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This can help you save time to order the gift before the holidays. Plus, if you don’t like to gift-wrap, many online stores offer the option of preparing your gift in a gift box or bag.

Finding holiday gifts might feel stressful initially, but it helps to know that you can be mindful of who you’re gifting to. You can give away items they would prefer for a relaxed and low-key holiday.

Karie Pinnix
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