Americans are mocked globally for their materialism, and for good reason. There are several gift-giving holidays embedded in the national culture. People are compelled to purchase things on a regular basis, even if those items are not necessary. The retail economy sees influxes of profits every Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduation season. Birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions also warrant gifts. While any boost to the current economy is a good thing, many people cannot afford to spend money on all of the gifts that their friends and family members are accustomed to receiving in the course of a year. There are many creative gift ideas that will allow these people to save money without disappointing their loved ones.
Handmade gifts are always appreciated. Simple items like scarves and hats cost mere dollars to make. Avid knitters can look up complex knitting patterns on the Internet and make scarves in different styles and colors. Recipients will not feel as if they are receiving the same items over and over if each scarf is distinct. Knit hats in varied styles are also fun gifts. Striped and plain beanies are popular right now among college-aged people. Anyone in his or her early twenties will be happy to receive a hat in a new color. Matching hat and scarf sets can be given to individuals as large gifts, or the individual items can be given on different holidays spanning one year. The items do not have to match perfectly to constitute a complementary set. For example, a green scarf can have black stripes while its corresponding hat is black with green stripes. Inversions of this nature are clever ways to comprise sets of accessories without overwhelming the wearer with one color or pattern.
Household items that are made by hand give any room a quirky, one-of-a-kind atmosphere. A traditional framed cross-stitch design can be hung over a door or in a prominent spot in a living room or hallway. These pieces usually feature floral motifs surrounding friendly or welcoming text. Something of this nature would be an especially appropriate gift for a young adult who has just moved into a new apartment. Alternately, the crafter can give her friends amusing framed works. Once she has learned the basics of cross-stitching, she can create any pattern she chooses. The zombie trend has extended to crafting; inexpensive books of zombie and other supernatural cross-stitching patterns can be purchased online, in craft stores and in regular book stores. An artfully stitched monster in a mature, formal frame would be a unique gift for a good friend with unconventional tastes. Talented painters can paint small portraits of their friends for their birthdays. Instead of placing them in frames, the artists should consider including miniature easels with the portraits. Permanently displaying a painting on an easel is a creative idea that makes the gift seem more expensive than it really was.
Re-gifting is appropriate under the right circumstances. Friends of the same age and economic status can trade items on holidays. Young women will gladly receive clothing that they once admired on their friends. Recommended books can be passed on to people who have not read them yet. When re-gifting, it is important to give items that are still fashionable and in good condition.