UPDATE: We have announced our two winners. A big congrats to Mari Whitney, who left this comment, and Leah Ekmark, who left this winning tweet. Thanks to all who entered!

Want a chance to win $50 and make your holiday season a little bit richer? Read on for details.

In November, SmartBrief produced an inaugural series of gift guides that compiled more than 100 gift ideas for industry professionals. Did you miss it? See the links below to see some of our favorite gifts from Part 1.

We realize that’s a lot of gifts to give and to receive. To help with your holiday shopping, we’re giving out two $50 gift cards.

There are two ways to win.

No. 1: Twitter entry: Click the “Tweet this!” icon, or tweet what you see below for a chance to win.

I want to win a $50 holiday gift card! http://bit.ly/t8A7C2 (via: @SmartBrief) #sbgifts

You can tweet as many as two times per day. Each tweet is an entry to win. We’ll randomly draw the winner Dec. 12. All tweets must have the #sbgifts hashtag.

No. 2: Written entry: Write about your favorite holiday story or gift idea, and link back to this page. Link to your post in the comments box. OR submit your entry by adding a comment to this page.

The SmartBlogs editorial team will select the best-written entry. Remember, you MUST leave a comment on this post for it to be considered an entry. You may post only once. Our decisions are subjective and final.

What you need to know

  1. Tweets must contain #sbgifts.
  2. The deadline is Dec. 12, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter.
  3. No purchase is necessary to win.

Want even more ways to get into the holiday spirit? Sign up for your favorite SmartBrief newsletter above and keep an eye out for Part 2 — and 100 more gift ideas — delivered straight to your inbox Dec. 8.


Related Posts

163 Responses to “A SmartBrief gift to get you in the holiday spirit: Win a $50 gift card”

  1. […] This post originally ran on SmartBlog on Leadership. […]

  2. Terry Nugent says:

    Nice engagement promo

  3. Angie Allen says:

    Great promo!!! Thanks!!!

  4. Christine says:

    iTunes gift card – it always fits!

  5. DaveTaylorSC says:

    The Perfect Holiday Gift – Amazon's New Kindle – it's incredible!

  6. gainesvillepr says:

    A gift card of any amount to Bass Pro Shops — it's like the world is my oyster to go shopping with something as little as $10 at their stores. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3504/3743940148_05… And whatever I pick up, I can use during the one time I can turn my phone off – fishing. Ringing phones scare the fish away.

  7. Sam says:

    Here is my go-to gift for co-workers – It costs less than $10, is homemade without being "crafty" and is (almost) always the right size!

    Homemade Caramel with (purchased) Salted Pecans and Apples

    Here's how to make the Caramel:

    buy a can of Sweetened condensed milk

    put the entire UNOPENED can in a pot ans cover it with about 1-2 inches of water (trust me this is NOT dangerous)
    put the pot on the stove and boil the water – bring it to a simmer – not a huge rolling boil…..

    simmer for 3 hours! – add more water if the top of the can starts to poke out

    After 3 hours – remove the pot from the heat and let it stand over night (coming to room temp. slowly)

    once this is done – if you open the can – it is the most wonderful creamy delicious caramel you have ever had!

    My advice – DONT open the cans – make your own lable – (perhaps incorporating this super easy recipe) and put the whole thing in a gift bag with a small bage of salted pecans and a couple of apples!

    Its wonderful!


  8. SmartBrief is a great source for all things digital, so my idea for a great gift is $50 towards Apple store products (pick your poison!).

  9. Katie says:

    Best gift idea is to think of those who may cross your path daily but go unnoticed – i.e. bake cookies and write a nice card for the doorman or postman. That's what we are doing this year!

  10. David Pinsky says:

    No one ever thinks of the obvious best solution. Give fewer physical gifts! Holiday gift giving results in large amounts of inneficiencies because the giver doesn't know what the recipient will need or use. Many gifts go unused or underused. Most of us would be better off with fewer holiday treats anyway. If you are giving a year-end thank you to a service provider (doorman, postman) give cash. Instead of traditional gifts, why not make a donation to a charity that your loved one supports.

  11. Cynthia says:

    I like to give something that I am sure can be used – we all have enough "stuff" without adding more that may not be liked or used. I like to give food, like homemade cookies or specialty jars of salsa. It's fun for people to try new foods, and if they don't like it, at least it can be composted.

  12. VIrginia says:

    Donation to charity – local or international (Heifer International or local food bank or other).
    A gift from a local small (unique) business nice — in Iowa it may be Templeton Rye, La Quercia proscuitto, or Trappistine Caramels or other candy.
    Your time – couple with small kids – offer to baby sit so they can go out.
    And I often give baked goods – I love to bake, but don’t need all the calories. It is something that says you took the time to make them something special. Or if you can or pickle or do any other craft.
    In all cases – have an idea of their likes and dislikes so you pick something that means something to them.

  13. Gabrielle says:

    Great practical gift ideas:
    -movie passes (esp good for teens)
    -coffee shop gift card
    -oil change gift card (we all need that!)
    -handyman/gardener/junk removal gift certificate
    -gas station gift card! (esp for college students!)

    You can still wrap gift cards in a box & make it a lovely present.
    Note to avoid the Visa gift cards, as they tack on fees to check balances & are hard to use if not used all at once.

  14. barbara says:

    I love the SmartBrief series! It's how I start my day – every day!

  15. TFJenkins says:

    Best gift- smoker grill

  16. Blackdart1966 says:

    The Einstein Theory of Relativity Kindle cover is definitely on my Xmas list this year!!!

  17. Ron says:

    The perfect Christmas gift is giving to those in need.

  18. Connie says:

    If only Santa could put a job in my stocking this year.

  19. Cynthia says:

    Gift card for gas. Stamps. Homemade food!

  20. J.S. says:

    Giving a favorite book that you have recently read is a great way to share interests and recycle gently used books.

  21. Renee says:

    Favorite gifts to give are Photo Calenders…they are always appreciated.

  22. Lindsey says:

    as a kid i loved putting out "reindeer food" (glitter) for all of santa's friends :)

  23. This year I'm ordering all of my friends Survival Straps. They're cool looking bracelets that you can customize and proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

  24. Elle says:

    Best holiday gift – guilt-free time off.

  25. younjin says:

    I love Starbucks gift cards and I always give this gift to my child's teachers. They ALWAYS love this!

  26. April says:

    The executive our group reports into arranged for a mobile car wash and detailing service to take care of our cars during the workday (today, actually). This is so thoughtful on a number of counts — it's original, always needed, and uber convenient. What a genius gift!

  27. K Smith says:

    I recycle glass jars and give out my homemade Chex Mix- hot and spicy or regular- I add pumpernickel bagel chips and cheeze its. I have a local made garlic hot pepper sause for the Spicy. I also reclycle the plastic Chinese take out containers and fill them with a homemade cookie variety and decorate with paper or ribbons. It s a stress releiver for me to cook and bake and a yummy way to thank people for their support throughout the year.

  28. Jessie says:

    My brother is a police officer in a very rural area. One winter around Christmas time, he stopped a man walking on a highway in a snow storm that he sees walking everywhere all the time. He gave him his own winter coat so that he would be warm. That is one of the greatest Christmas stories I know. Right from the heart.

  29. Debbie Nobles says:

    I would give a gift to St. Jude Research Hospital. My 2 yr. old granddaughter, Hayli Ann Nobles, is currently is remission and is actually starring with her Momma and Jennifer Aniston in the current Give Thanks Commercials as well as billboards nationwide, etc. etc. I can attest that this charity is all that it is said to be. They, as well as the good Lord above have definitely worked miracles and continue to. The gift cards would actually be used to purchase toys for children at Kosair Children's Hospital because if it weren't for them referring Hayli to St. Jude's, the outcome could be quite a bit different.

  30. Crystal says:

    I give homemade food gifts (English Toffee and Pecan Snowballs) to everyone from neighbors, co-workers to the UPS delivery guy. I think everyone appreciates the opportunity to get outside (gift cert for skiing, iceskating or tubing) or to relax (massage, tea and a new cup).

  31. Candi says:

    For the busy Exec – I love messages. It forces people to slow down for an hour and take care of themselves. Message clubs are great as they are all over the country and you can go when you have down time on a trip.

  32. Kayla says:

    Maple Pepper seasoning! My husband and I put this delicious seasoning on EVERYTHING! It's a unique gift that most people have not had. We also like to give lottery tickets. Hey – if they win, maybe they'll think of who bought it for them! :)

  33. Scarlett says:

    a christmas card in the mail. no one seems to send mail now, but everyone still loves to receive letters. there's like a personal little envelope with your name on it in the mailbox. and the extra business goes to supporting the poor post office industry.

  34. Krystyna says:

    Haha I love the WineHug self-inflating protective travel pouch for the on-the-road reader of SmartBrief for the Business Traveler. Pick me!

  35. Mari says:

    Stocking stuffers make the best gifts! They're fun to buy, inexpensive, can be practical, and you can buy loads for the price of one big gift. I'm known in my family for zany stocking stuffers and never fail to come up with new inspiration. The Container Store is a bonanza for great stuffers every year, but I find others at the most random of places – CVS, Tuesday Morning, Bed, Bath & Beyond, the local Latin grocery store, a gas station on the way to Zion and Bryce National Parks…. The possibilities are endless!

    I also value giving back to the community and cannot say enough great things about Kiva (www.kiva.org). It's an online global micro-lending community that lets ordinary people, like you or me, make a difference in a person's life. The site lists pages and pages of people seeking small loans, whether it be to support their fledgling business, farm, or home repairs. The recipients pay back the loans in increments, and Kiva sends updates on repayment history. It's always deeply humbling to receive these emails showing how $2 or $3 were paid back, serving as a reminder of just how valuable even a few dollars can be to someone. The beauty is that once your initial donation of $25 is repaid, you're able to lend it again to someone else. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

  36. Alison Risso says:

    A charitable giving card. It teaches children the importance of generosity instead of drowning them in the gimmies.

  37. John L Hoh Jr says:

    Offer to make a donation to family/friends' favorite charities. OK, I admit, it may be hard to write checks out to Planned Parenthood, the Republican National Committee, etc., but you are doing it for a friend and for good cheer. Ask friends/family to do the same for you. Did you really want another argyle sweater or fidtful of gift cards that may have come from local establishments–two states over?

  38. Jana says:

    Food gifts are my favorite to give, specifically homemade cranberry bread or gingerbread cookies!

  39. Kimberly M says:

    My favorite and most fun gift is to buy a stocking and fill it with the persons favorite things. For example, I would make one for my friend and fill it wrapped items such as gift cards to various places she frequents, batteries for things she uses all the time, her favorite candy, a book by her favorite author, a cd or movie, tickets to her favorite artist, etc. The nice thing is you can make it as inexpensive or as expensive as you want. There is a lot of flexibility with this gift and its always a lot of fun. Plus the person receiving loves it b/c you take the time to personalize the gift with their favorites!!

  40. Megan says:

    I gave a "memory jar" to my grandparents a few years ago. Each family member wrote down 5-10 of their favorite memories with my grandparents. We read them aloud on Christmas Day. My grandparents loved the gift and we loved remembering our wonderful moments with them.

  41. Luan8002 says:

    I recently got into making stained glass pieces, and I found it to be the best way to be personal and creative on a budget (provided you have the equipment). I'm making my girlfriends from my crossfit gym each a kettlebell ornament with their name on it, which is something they can also use year round and not just on the tree. It shows my appreciation for their friendship and community, and creates a cute gift that is relative to our crossfit lifestyle

  42. My favorite gift to give and receive are gift cards to places I or the recipient shops. This way not only are they being used, but also appreciated.

  43. Nutriknitter says:

    We asking that our daughter's gifts be "doing" gifts this year: membership to the zoo, local children's theater, aquarium, the Little Gym, etc. So we can make memories together while being active and we have less toys to trip over at home :)

  44. Lisa Saint-Surin says:

    Hygiene kits for children in Haiti for my church mission's team: Haiti Disaster Relief program.

  45. Love giving adventures/experiences as gifts – things like a certificate to go white-water rafting, skydiving, race car experience, tickets to a concert, flying lessons, etc. Groupon/Living Social/Buy with Me has made these gifts much cheaper/easier too!

  46. hilary says:

    Pay It Forward…..Give back to those less fortunate than yourself. Just a smile or human contact and doing something nice for someone or several others can make their day and create a new memory for them to focus on in hard times.

  47. April says:

    My family likes to do the 12 days of Christmas which includes random acts of kindness for each other. These are free or almost free gifts. such as a foot massage, getting up early to clear snow/ice of their car etc…

  48. Melanie says:

    A Rechargeable Backup Battery for your iPhone®. They are great for the business traveler who wants to play angry birds on those long flights, or did I mean work on those long flights! :)

  49. Ena Newell says:

    What a great gift!! Check this out…Carbon offsets via The Nature Conservancy. What better thing to do for everyones benefit, help our enviornment! I suggest this as the gift of the season!

  50. John L Hoh Jr says:

    I have purchased gift cards from the local grocery store for tenants who are single mothers. They can select what they need, or want, for the holidays. At least the family can have one nice meal for the holidays as times are often tight. Sometimes I have had someone help pick out age-appropriate toys for each child in a family and left them anonymously by the door. I like to do this anonymously.

  51. Les Mosko says:

    The best gift that anyone can give is the gift of LOVE. The fifty dollars is meaningless if there is no LOVE behind the thought. If I recieve the gift card I would give it to someone that I had hurt in the past, and I would ask for forgiveness.

  52. Tonia Walker says:

    I would love to have a gift card to purchase books for a classroom of economically disadvantaged elementary school students. I work at a high school and one of our feeder elementary schools is only a few blocks away making it easy access to award the books to the students. I can shop at a local Bookstore Warehouse for books related to Math/Science content (these subject areas are the school's focus for improvement) and high interest reading. The children can use these books to begin their own personal libraries at home and can have books for reading over the December Holiday break.

  53. John L Hoh Jr says:

    Find out what hobbies or interests people have. Someone who does free-lance writing might enjoy the gift of stamps. Much of gift-giving is taking the time to know people.

  54. regina says:

    Time spent with family and friends is the greatest gift of all!

  55. Mari Whitney says:

    One Christmas, our large family made the decision to only exchange gifts that we made, and we drew names, which were kept a secret. At one point in the evening, my 82 year old father got down on one knee, and sang "their song" to my mother, who was seated in a wheel chair, with absolute love in both of their eyes. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, and today, they are both deceased. I wish someone had been able to record this memory so we could watch it every Christmas, because it was the best Christmas gift I ever saw given.

  56. TiAngela says:

    A gift card to a major department store where a variety of items are sold is best because who knows better what someone likes than him/herself. Items purchased can be needs and/or wants. :-)

  57. Jai says:

    Everyone works "FOR" Family "AT" workplace.
    The best gift someone could get is to get a perosnal time with loved ones – through Phone, visual, or even handwritten letter is best and great for travellers or people with loved ones in other part of world.
    A letter from loved ones with picture sent through Smartbrief personalized mailer would be awesome.

  58. sue tauber says:

    the perfect holiday gift is a gift card from ross.

    ross has great clothes for all members of your family.. Gift for you house to. Great selection and always something new every week

  59. Jill says:

    For a gathering of friends, a gift exchange with the gift comprising of your/your family's favorite camping (or other favorite hobby) gadget or tool. Then as gifts are unwrapped, the giver tells a story of how the gift became a family favorite, allowing the friends to learn more about each others relationships. Then as a giving twitst, the option is given to keep the gift or donate it to a charity or low income group having the same hobby interest.

  60. Cat Dalton says:

    My favorite gift idea is something that keeps on giving. My favorite gift I received for Christmas was my schnauzer, Maggie. The companionship is wonderful, always near no matter where I am. I also have the best walking partner I could find. She is always up for a walk when often my husband isn't.

  61. Jill says:

    Being short on cash, my siblings and I are each filing a CD of our favorite songs, and we're swapping. The trick is to narrow down our many choices to make it fit on to one CD.

  62. debbie calianno says:

    My favorite holiday gifts are those that provide an experience or entertainment- cooking class, photo class, tickets to see a play or sports event.

  63. wendy says:

    Home made body scrub using his/her favorite fragrance. This is always a hit; and, such a gift shows that you really thought about their likes/preferences.

  64. Michelle says:

    A journal book. Many people I know love to jot down their thoughts or make some quick notes, and I have found that a small size journal book as a gift is very much appreciated! I try to find the right journal book for the right personality – and on average they cost less that $5 each.

  65. Susan Barry says:

    This list of gifts is awesome. I'm about to buy some bacon pickles as we speak. I also love to give magazine subscriptions as gifts – my little way of keeping my favorite pubs actually publishing.

  66. Kebba says:

    Great idea, love smart brief . For a busy CEO starbux gift card something simple.

  67. Ashely says:

    An Isoflex stress relief ball. It's inexpensive and a nice way to remember the people who have done nice things for you throughout the year.

  68. Vicki says:

    One of my favorite small gifts is an origami bird ornament. More personal, and a bit more work, at least to start with, is my family and friends' cookbook. Ask each person in your circle to contribute at least one favorite recipe, have them type them into an e-mail, so you don't have as much original typing to do. Move to your word processing program, and format – with footers for each section (Appetizers, Baked Goods, Main Dishes, Vegetables, etc.) Use styles in Word to make formatting easier. Spell check, proof, print, and make copies. Put in page protectors in binders. This is a gift you can update every year. You'll be amazed how much use your family and friends get out of this.

  69. Stu says:

    One of my favorite gifts this year is for something for the young adult or even teenager who has yet to start thinking about planning for the future. It’s a “Gift of Stock” from Sharebuilder. For $30, they get a $50 gift card, along with I think 4 free trades. It lets them start investing with a small amount, and start preparing for the future. They can choose any stock they want, and can buy a portion of a share, based on a dollar amount per stock.

  70. Scott B says:

    The Action Method Action Journal is a must for every professional…especially those who love making lists. It's an incredibly well designed, easy to flip through, notebook that allows you to keep track of your tasks, lists, etc., while giving you the freedom (and space in the notebook) to doodle ideas and brainstorms. I just discovered these yesterday and can't wait to pick one up (or hopefully get one) for the holidays.

  71. Liz says:

    Gifts that are made locally. In my town, we have an art glass studio, a woman who makes all sorts of jarred delicacies (jams, relishes, mustards, etc.), a brewery, just to name a few. I find something for everyone at a reasonable cost, and every one feels good about supporting our local economy.

  72. Pamela says:

    One of the best gifts that I love to give is a gift card to either Starbucks or Peet's Coffee. The best part is you can purchase online – the card and the products! … or go into a shop located nearby to purchase the card and coffee, tea, snacks, lunch, water, juice, etc. and sit down to enjoy them while engaging in converstion with the other patrons or browsing online news, email and SmartBrief using their free wyfye.

  73. Rita Grandgenett says:

    Giving of "self" always works! For "down-time", offer a luncheon or dinner date at your home or in the city of the recipient, when you are in town. Phil's Barbecue Restaurant or Five Guys always works when I am visiting with the kids in San Diego!

  74. Jeanie Dotson says:

    The best gift idea is one to help American workers make money by keeping their jobs… so will purchase gift cards from local spas and restaurants. Always a welcomed gift!

  75. James says:

    Timely article. I've been trying to figure out what gifts to give prospects. I dislike chotchkies, so haven't been able to make a decision.

    I typically give family members "animals", in the 'buy a goat for a village in africa' way (e.g. Oxfam). Maybe I'll do that for business… more meaningful, but less exciting to open an envelope…

  76. Kim says:

    A gift certificate for a massage is always my favorite. Busy working people need some R&R!

  77. T. Murray says:

    I buy Pendleton Blankets as gifts. The blankets are functional and they are absolutely amazing with designs, color, and background.

  78. PJL says:

    Buy something local and American-made. Think craft fair (ornaments, jewelry, quilts), local farm (honey, jelly, cheese), you get the idea!

  79. Bryce says:

    My holiday gift suggestion is the Kindle Fire. It is a gift that keeps giving.

  80. Roblessol says:

    So many great ideas, I like the wine hug.

  81. Marie says:

    I like to give some homade treats like holiday bars and cookies!

  82. Suzette says:

    I grow lavender and some other fragrant herbs and I am making bath bombs and soaps scenting them (in part) with my home grown flora.

  83. Eliza says:

    I'd donate it to Pinellas Co Animal Services..the animals need all the help they can get :-)

  84. Bob says:

    I think this is a great way to engage and increase participation

  85. bruce kim says:

    I've been giving framed vintage posters from the '80's and '90's for the past couple of years and people love it!. 30-somethings and 40-somethings are nostalgic and appreciate it, whether it's Rocky posters or Miami Vice posters.

  86. Matt Hudson says:

    A donation to Wheels for the World

  87. Vintage toys help to bring out people's inner child!

  88. Debv says:

    Love giving personalized flashdrives (www.pexagontech.com is my source) for teachers, nieces & nephews. & I LOVE Vapur flat water bottles for those I know that travel alot.

  89. majid says:

    help the poor and needy this holiday season
    happy holidays

  90. Christy says:

    Changing from a publicly held company to a privately held company owned by some very generous, gracious people have made me realize how blessed I am. My Christmas bonus helped save Christmas this year for my family and friends. May everyone have a blessed Christmas and prosperous 2012.

  91. Connie says:

    Give local! Provide your loved ones with gift certificates from local businesses….toward a new hair do, the local health food store, the local Y, etc. Keep your local economy green! :)

  92. Billie says:

    The best gift I've ever given is my undivided time – whether it be to take a friend to coffee or to spend time playing a game with a child the human touch is life changing.

  93. Vicki says:

    Wow – so many ideas to read through. Lots of suggestions to make the holidays more "real" this year as in homemade, give your time, give to charities, etc. Very nice. That's what it is all about – being human.

  94. Stuart M says:

    My favorite gifts are technologically oriented. I therefore recommend going on to the web, reading about them first, then ordering them online or better yet, at your nearest brick and mortar store, where people are gainfully employed.

  95. Dileep says:

    A book on Yoga / Meditation. Great gift for the rest of the life !. Refresh and Re-energize mind and body.

  96. Charlotte says:

    World Scratch Map – A great idea for a stocking filler is this World Scratch Map available from Stanfords. The gold foil covered map allows travellers to scratch off each country they’ve visited. A perfect gift for any backpacker who wants to show off how many countries they’ve visited, or for those that have caught the travel bug. Also great for those who love to read literature around the world.

  97. Ron says:

    A little something different. Dick & Jane Baking Co. produces educational snacks for school kids that many districts around the country use for lunch or in classroom snacks. These all-natural, nut-free vanilla cookies come in snack size bags featuring "Presidents" and "State & Capitals." Their 100-bag case is $30. Neat for kids, parents or office snacks (great conversation starters)! Their slogan is "Education in Every Bite."

  98. Cam McI says:

    My family likes to give the $1.00 scratch off lottery tickets as stocking stuffers. We all take turns scratching and see what we win. For $1.00 tickets, I’ve won up to $75, not to mention the fun of scratching them one at a time. They are great gifts for co-workers, friends, relatives and anyone else on your gift list! They are inexpensive but could lead to a great holiday surprise!

    I also like the idea of volunteering time or food as a family to a local charity for the holidays but not necessarily on the holiday when everyone else does. How about doing it in January when the volunteers or food for the food banks tend to dwindle down? Or use your scratch off lottery wins for charity? :)

  99. LuAnne says:

    I work with many so I usually send an note to each telling each person what I like about working with them.
    It varies each year sharing food etc. During the year if I find something that suits the person I purchase it for them.
    We all work so hard during this season extra food in the break room always is appreciated. But I find that the little things , the personalized appreciation written are the biggest hit!

  100. Janice Fisher says:

    My daughter in law is a 4th grade school teacher. For special occassions, she asks a question of the students and has them write a 1 sentence or several word answer on a small strip of colored paper. Then she puts them in an appropriate jar and presents them to the appropriate person. For instance, at a wedding she asked the students to answer the question "What is a husband or wife? For Christmas or other holiday, you could ask them to respond to a question such as "What present should you get for a grand parent? or What is a good present to get for a pet? Or fill in the blank with your clever thought. She did this for me for mother's day and the kids described what they liked about their mothers. Very simple idea but very moving and funny, too.

  101. John L Hoh Jr says:

    Find out from those you're looking to give to what small thing they could really use or enjoy if they had an extra $xx (your budget, and then some). This is a deepening of a relationship as you get to know what's really the passion of another person.

  102. Barbara says:

    I love giving homemade baked goods. This year, I'm making and giving mini loaf pans of pumpkin gingerbread. It's nutritious and delicious.

  103. Elena says:

    My favorite holiday gift idea is a goodie bag full of holiday goodies- I make them every year. I usually make homemade milk chocolate and white chocolate dipped pretzels, homemade milk chocolate and white chocolate dipped candy canes, homemade and decorated gingerbread men, and homemade Christmas bark. All of my friends and family LOVE these goodie bags. And I truly enjoy making them :) – YUM!

  104. Brigette says:

    The Flavor Bible for anyone who is a foodie. It's an awesome book that comes in handy for referencing and creating your own recipes. Love it!

  105. hudsonbaird says:

    The holiday season is about giving back, and gifts that make that practical and fun are even better.

    1) Give a Kiva gift card so someone can find an entrepreneur they're excited about and begin the process of supporting micro-finance in developing countries.

    2) Create a Charity: Water giving page and challenge your friends to donate in your name instead of getting you a gift

    3) Use Heifer International to purchase animals that will offer long-term security to families in other parts of the world.

  106. Rachel B says:

    A night out on the town! Whether your young, old, new parents, single ladies, or need a boy's night, nothing is nicer than getting a night out paid for. Movie tickets, a gift card to a restaurant and perhaps a drink or two at the local bar are a great way to say Merry Christmas!

  107. David B. says:

    For the man who has everthing, I recommend a day away from from the floor of the stock exchange.

  108. Becky Gainey says:

    My favorite gift idea is to donate to a charity that is a favorite of the gift recipient. We all have too much stuff in our lives. Donating to a charity helps the cause. Your money goes to something truly worthwhile. Remember to check out the charity's reputation to make sure you are funding the charity instead of a CEO's six figure salary. Grassroots charities really appreciate any size donation.

  109. benstauffer says:

    I've become a real believer in the giving of a charitable donation in your loved one's name. Make sure that it is something that your acquaintance would support–I've had a family member give to support musicians without health insurance (I'm in the music biz), and I was really touched by her thoughtfulness.

    This works particularly well if an organization or group is willing to match your donations. One of my favorite bands, Arcade Fire, is matching donations to Haiti this holiday season (http://www.arcadefire.com/blog/kanpe/). This also makes me want to support THE BAND even more!

  110. dee says:

    Make truffles. I just took a class at the Boston Chocolate School, which should me me make the best batch of truffles ever. Then you can package them up pretty in individual boxes for each person.

  111. Corey says:

    One delicious gift that many people enjoy is chocolate-peanut butter bark. It is so simple to make. Just melt semi-sweet chocolate bits with peanut butter, spread on parchment paper, cool, break apart and it is done. It doesn't look like it has peanut butter in it, so be sure to label it for people with allergies.

  112. Suzanne A. says:

    Chocolate covered pretzels are an easy to make gift for the hard to buy for. They can be used for a party or shared with friends.

    Melt chocolate by microwaving on high in 30 second increments. Dip pretzel rods in chocolate then in sprinkles. Place on wax paper until cool. Wrap in cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon.

  113. jazz says:

    Favorite holiday gift ever was when I was in third grade. I got my first American girl doll and absolutely loved the series and carried that doll everywhere with me for about 6 months. I still have that doll 16 years later.

  114. Michael says:

    I'm a fan of blank-of-the-month clubs, because they last all year long. Wine or beer would be my own favorite categories, because there's such a wide variety that even aficionados can't possibly try everything. Gold Medal Wine Club, http://www.goldmedalwineclub.com has five different series, at different price points and different specialties. And Craft Beer Club, http://www.craftbeerclub.com delivers 4 different styles, 3 each, every month. Both clubs include extensive notes on the wineries or breweries and the specific bottles you're getting, plus recipes. Very nicely presented, too.

  115. Caroline says:

    The best gift i got gave me the ability to remember all the great memories we create as a family each year. When my husband and I first got married, we were young and very poor graduate students. However, we allowed ourselves one extravagant expense every Christmas and picked out a Waterford crystal christmas ornament that had the year etched on it– the kind that had a limited number made. We figured it would be a nice tradition and heirloom to chronicle our lives together. 8 years ago, he decided that we should have an ornament to represent every year we had been together- married and unmarried, and tracked down through many avenues and found each and every one from the 6 years before we got married. So much thought and effort went into a very sentimental gift. Every Christmas, i still tell him it was the best gift I’ve ever got and appreciate the gift of remembering each awesome year of being together as I hang it on the tree.

  116. Jamal Abu-Ghallous says:

    Homemade chocolate cheese cake

  117. riccineer says:

    Gadgets from ThinkGeek such as the environmentally friendly staple-free stapler :)

  118. Eugene says:

    Anything from the heart or personally made for someone. Nothing impersonal.

  119. tribuddha says:

    A donation to my favorite charity (or any charity for that matter)

  120. Angie says:

    Kiva bucks for the recipient to support a fledgling business in an underdeveloped country/state.

  121. Amy says:

    The perfect holiday gift is love……and a Kindle :)

  122. Linda Roskovich says:

    Muddy Buddy – we make a huge batch of Muddy Buddy – Chex Cereal and we bag it and hang it on our "Gift Christmas Tree" along with other homemade treats. Anytime someone comes to visit us during the holiday we ask them go to the "Gift Tree" and pick a treat.

  123. Jay Blain says:

    I avoid food items because of food allergies and dietary restrictions. I like gift cards geared to the interests of the individual.

  124. TCAP says:

    Solar/windup emergency radio. Great for any place that doesn't have electricity & no worry about batteries. Also, most now have ports to charge cell phones.

  125. Mary says:

    Still think the best gift is helping those with little or nothing…maybe donate the gift card to a homeless shelter or purchase food for a food bank?

  126. Lynne says:

    I have learned so much about careers and myself with Smart Brief. Thank you.
    A great gift idea is to give a gift to missions in their honor. I like the Heifer Project because it teaches people 'how' while giving them a gift. Also, spending time listening is a gift we need to give each other all year long.
    Merry Christmas!

  127. Kevin says:

    The year was 1990. I was flying F111's in Desert Shield. Already 3 months away from home in UK and seeing my kids. The squadron required me to fly back to UK to swap out an aircraft on December 22, 1990. I was able to spend Christmas with my children (ages 4 and 2) before I had to fly the aircraft back to Turkey and fly combat misisons in Desert Storm. The squadron could have chosen anybody to do the swap, but I was able to have a enjoyable Christmas week before being re-deployed.

  128. Coco says:

    Homemade candy bowls made from recycled albums! A fasinating gift for the young ones who never played an actual album and awesome reminders of times gone by for the rest of us…especially if you find an album with the person's favorite song!

  129. Barbara Pratt says:

    World Vision @ http://www.worldvisiongifts.org is an inspirational organization that helps destitute folks out of poverty. Small gifts are multiplied by companies that participate and you can send a card to family/friends who have lots that shows the smiling face of a child recipient of goats/chickens/safe water/warm clothes…you name it!

  130. Alexis says:

    Donation to Share Our Strength. A great organization that is working to stop childhood hunger by 2015. It's the Team No Kid Hungry campaign!

  131. Stacy says:

    Best gift idea Roku + Netflix of Amazon Prime subscription!

  132. Dave says:

    The best gift option for the holiday season is something that continually gives throughout the year. All to often we only consider giving at this time of year. It would be better to chose a charity or program that needs the help throughout the year and make donation in the name of a loved one and encourage others within your company to match said donation. Think about it as an individual giving say a $100.00 gift to charity if he/she instead offers $25.00 and then gets matching donations from 10 others the increase is $150. The gain is a feeling of a group effort and is easier for those to donate the smaller portion in today's economic times.

    The other and option is to get your company to volunteer to work as a group in a food kitchen or food supply warehouse for a day making up the packages and getting them out to the elderly and needed within your community.

  133. Caitlin says:

    A gal in our office has been sewing handmade aprons this year, and we are all snatching them up like crazy to give as gifts to our friends and loved ones! She even makes them to "fit" with someone's personality…it's such a great gift idea, aprons are all the rage this year! And they are SUPER stylish and trendy, which is why I love them….they aren't your typical old apron. Another place to find unique holiday gifts is on Etsy.com, I'm addicted and I bet you'll be addicted too!

  134. Megan says:

    This year, my friends and I are having our children make each other gifts. They have to finish the sentence "My favorite thing about so & so is…" and draw a picture to go along with it. Then they will decorate a wooden frame from a craft shop and frame each drawing to give to their friends for Christams.

  135. Ilene says:

    Giving something to someone for what you perceive might be an "unspoken need." For example, pay someone's electric bill for the month. Perhaps that someone is not necessarily a relative or someone close to you.

  136. Donna Courtney says:

    We all live such busy lifestyles. I give gift certificates to a message therapist so my friends have the chance to relax and unwind.

  137. ny08 says:

    mighty wallet – a really cool and unique stocking stuffer.

  138. Food gifts, and boxes of clementines. Good stuff!

  139. Sylvia Garcia says:

    My husband and I hand-painted wine bottles and drilled a hole in the back of each in order to feed a string of holiday lights in each one. We had so much fun making these gifts and are very excited to give them to our family and friends!

  140. Lisa Lawler says:

    I believe the best gift comes from the heart no matter what you give!

  141. Daniela says:

    A gift card to a local restaurant or company. That way it gives a gift they can use locally and helps support the local economy.

  142. Michelle Mudge-Riley says:

    The best gift is just slowing down to be present in the moment with the ones you love.

  143. sky says:

    $50 would make a nice dent in my luxurious-much-needed facial at Mamie Day Spa in NYC! :0) Great way to start the new year!

  144. Cheryl Robertson says:

    “Forever” Postage stamps are always good, especially for those on a budget or the seniors. Some are quite colorful and nice looking for cards. And they are still valid when the price increases.

  145. Jessica Yuan says:

    I feel like the best gift to some one is not materialistic at all. We are so busy more than 90% of our time awake with menial tasks and "work".
    To give someone our dedication in time well spent together is the best gift of all. :) sappy but true.
    Buy a day of adventure with your loved ones and do something meaningful.

  146. Val says:

    A donation to a charity that is meaningful to the receiver… think local or what boards are they on.
    Giving is down, Gov't funding is down and need is up. Tis the season.

  147. MARY says:

    This is such a wonderful idea! I love to give homemade gifts from my kitchen at Christmas.

  148. Susan G says:

    This year, all my gifts are local- handmade jewelry by local artists, handmade soap from local craftsmen, and locally produced foods, including honey, jams, salsas, wine, and famous Blenheim's gingerale- all made within about 25 miles of my home in Florence, SC!

  149. Creating homemade holiday cookie mixes in glass mason jars with ribbon for friends and family #sbgifts

  150. Dena says:

    I'm a big fan of experiential gifts. They can be thoughtful and memorable, and don't take up any space. They also lighten up the winter after the holidays have ended. Some of my favorite experiential gifts are tickets to shows, spa treatments, restaurant gift certificates, etc.

  151. Heather says:

    A homemade bottle of wine made using seasonal flavors is my favorite gift for all of my friends and colleagues. It is a great gift from the heart that is also good for the heart!!

  152. Valerie says:

    Donate to the SPCA or your local shelter or a food bank in the name of your relatives. Put a message in your holiday card letting them know how much the charity received from you in lieu of gifts. Charity is the best gift of all!

  153. Emilio Paletta says:

    My favorite Christmas story

    Emilio Paletta copy right 2006

    Christmas Eve at our house can be polarizing. To begin with my husband drives me crazy waiting for the last minute to prepare for the biggest night of the year. Guess he’s no different than yours'; it seems they’re all cut from the same mold. The fact they never listen is enough to drive a women to drink. Though we have no children of our own, we love kids. Chris goes to the mall and then thinks nothing of letting strange children sit on his lap for a picture. I’ve cautioned him, ‘warning he could end up in jail.’ He claims children love him and not to worry; still I do.

    In the past he’s had run-ins with the law. The INS has fined him for hiring illegal aliens, the IRS audits him on a regular basis and the SPCA has charged him with cruelty to animals; claiming he treats the deer like dogs. Every year the FAA has sighted him for flying without a pilot’s license; and not sticking within flight patterns.

    Not a year goes by he doesn’t land on someone’s roof top. He fluffs it off saying, ‘It makes it easier to climb down the chimney.’

    More than once police have apprehended him for breaking and entering. You’re not going to believe this, but at last year’s office party, he was arrested for impersonating himself. I’m sorry to say, even I’ve brought him up on charges of desertion. He leaves me home alone, while he gallivants all over the world. Over time he’s been able to avoid detection through the use of aliases. Hey, there’s no doubt he’s a fun loving guy who gets his jollies by laughing HO! HO! Ho!. Though I wonder why he can’t be like the rest of us and laugh HA! HA! HA!?

    Everyone he meets is taken by his distinguished good looks; mentioning through the years he hasn’t changed a bit. They’d be shocked to know how many face lifts and tummy tucks he’s had. He’s unable to loose weight, which can be attributed to the cookies and milk kiddies bribe him with on Christmas Eve.

    Endowed with an uncanny memory, he recalls the street address of every child on the planet. Mind boggling isn’t it? Think about it, “What else does the old fart have to do in the off season?”

    At times he’s depressed for having been born Christmas Day; claiming had he been born on Thanksgiving or Easter his competition would have been Turkey Lurkey, or Peter Cottontail. Instead he has to butt heads with the King of Kings. He can’t understand how an infant dressed only in diapers can be in all places at once. I’ve tried explaining it’s a mystery we accept without reservation; and the same holds true for him.

    I’ll let you in on another little secret; for long as I’ve known Chris, he’s worn the same old red underwear! Heaven forbid should I ask him to change, in a fit of rage he screams, “When that kid changes his; I’ll change mine!” If the old geezer knew I let the cat out of the bag, for sure next year he’ll put coal in my stocking.

    On behalf of my eccentric husband, the elves, and reindeer; including Rudolph we wish one and all: “A BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

    By the way if you should happen by the North Pole, drop in for some of the bubbly.

    One Very Desperate Housewife

    Sandy Claus
    Sandy Claus
    http://www.neversayuncle.com paletta4788@aol.com

  154. Kerry S says:

    For the busy Exec that hasn't had a chance to stop for Happy hour – Arctic Rocks. Ice cubes from granite made to keep your drinks cold. Includes a travvel pouch.

  155. Naomi says:

    I actually prefer handmade gifts, it means the giver took the time to do something special. This year, we're making sugar scrubs for a select few!

  156. Ruthie says:

    For the holidays I give homemade banana bread along with a note that offers time spent with the person. So that results in a chance to visit, enjoy a treat, and in some cases my visit allows me to see what a friend may need, such as. an elderly neighbor may need help with changing batteries in a smoke detector they cannot reach. This is not huge, but it keeps us in contact and helps keep the relationships stronger. Thanks for the idea.

  157. LuAnne says:

    Less is more… trying to stay away from cheap junk that will get thrown away. Homemade treats. cards with personalized comments to each co worker…..If I buy something I take great efforts to make sure it is made in USA.
    Too many middle class jobs being lost.

  158. Ann says:

    One of the nicest gifts I ever got was a gift card to the grocery store when I was between jobs.

  159. Dara says:

    Best gift idea – FREE – sign your dog lover up at http://www.dogrunclub.com – Great way to meet owners with your same breed or just dog lovers in general and it is 100% FREE!! The dogs have a blast and it is a free and easy way to set up play dates for them!!

  160. AVDawn says:

    Homemade gifts are usually easy and very well liked. In years past, I've made homemade nut brittle, cinnamon pancake mix, hot cocoa mix, and even bath salts! When buying gifts, ThinkGeek generally has the widest variety of stuff beloved by family members and friends alike.