I am not saying that good things don’t come in small packages, because of COURSE they do. But sometimes a $20 CD can look, well, smaller than $20. And sometimes a $20 throw blanket can look bigger than $20.
If you’re cutting down on gift spending this year, you might want to get more bang for your buck, as it were, by saving yourself money—and also giving the recipient a way to save some money themselves. Or you might be trying to snow your in-laws into thinking you spent more than you did. I’m not going to look too closely at your motivations, I’m just going to give you some big-looking, small-costing ideas that happen to go along with all the things people say they’re doing to save money these days.
Hey, is anyone you know turning the thermostat down because of unpleasantly high heating bills? Well, there you go: a throw blanket is the gift of heat. Plus, it takes up a lot of space under the tree. This particular one is at Amazon.com for $13-29 (depending on color) down from $40, and it comes in four colors: espresso, camel, brick, and olive. My experience with Pike Street stuff (I have some of the flannel sheets and some vellux blankets) is that the colors can be a little different than they appear in the photos (a sunshiney yellow vellux blanket was more like pale yellow, and a cranberry red blanket was more like burgundy), so don’t try to match someone’s decor exactly.
There’s also a fleece version for $10-13 depending on which of the eight colors you choose (four of them are “coral fleece” and four are “pique coral fleece” and what the difference is I couldn’t tell you, except that some colors are one and some colors are the other).
The Presto Power Pop is a great popcorn popper: it makes air-popped (or regular popped-with-oil) popcorn in your microwave, and popcorn is a pretty cheap snack. Amazon.com has it for $13.50 down from $25. The box isn’t huge, but it’s substantial-looking.
Hey, look! It’s my brownie pan! It’s 9×13 with a cover, and I use it A LOT: for brownies, for cakes, for bars, for chocolate-crusted pumpkin cheesecake. When my mother-in-law was visiting she said, “That pan doesn’t get much rest, does it?,” and I had to agree. Amazon.com has it but not with free shipping; fortunately, you can get it at Walmart or Target instead. It costs about $13. Depending on who you give it to, you could wrap it as-is or you could bake a batch of brownies into it and then wrap it. The mint brownies I linked to earlier in this paragraph are festive.
The PostSecret books make great gifts: not only are they interesting to just about anyone who walks this mortal coil, they’re nice big impressive hardcovers that seem more expensive than they are. Amazon.com has My Secret for $15 down from $22—not exactly FREE even so, but makes a nice-looking present: bigger-seeming than a lot of book gifts would…seem.
Perhaps you know someone who is swearing to give up their morning coffee drive-through visits. This darling Black & Decker coffee maker brews into a travel mug! INTO A TRAVEL MUG! I’m not sure you’re following me: it brews the coffee….into a travel mug. And it’s only $15. This would be nice to have at home and small enough to have at work.
Good luck, and let me know if you’ve thought of anything else that looks big but costs small: I haven’t shopped for my in-laws yet.