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10 Small Christmas Gifts to Have on Hand in an Emergency

One of the most difficult situations that can arise is when someone gives you gift — and you have nothing in return. One of the ways you can get beyond this is to keep small Christmas on hand for just such an emergency.

These small gifts can be wrapped ahead of time, and even fitted with a tag that you can fill in later, when you have a minute to excuse yourself. Or you don’t even need to tag it all. Just present your attractively wrapped gift to co-workers, neighbors, or other acquaintances who unexpectedly bring a present.

Here are 10 ideas for small Christmas gifts you can have on hand:

  1. Ornaments: Tree ornaments make great, festive gifts for any occasion. You can buy a box of attractive ornaments, and then wrap them individually. Italian glass ornaments make great, unique gifts. But you can also go homemade [3]. Get clear ornaments, and carefully remove the tops. Then put a two or three curls of bright, differently colored ribbon inside. It’s a fun gift that is relatively inexpensive and simple to make.
  2. Picture frame: You can get a small picture frame. There are some rather attractive mini frames as well. Get something magnetic that can be placed at work, or on the fridge at home. These types of gifts can be fun, and they can be used all year.
  3. Bulbs planted in a pot: Get a small pot and plant an attractive bulb, or a small plant that will grow bigger. Put a bow around the pot, and viola! a unique and attractive gift that will bloom with spring. Make sure to instruct the recipient to keep it well-watered and in an area with natural light.
  4. Tasty treat: Consider something edible. A small box of gourmet truffles, or some delicious hot chocolate (in a mug, of course), or some home-baked goods, make great gifts. You do have to be aware of perishables in some cases, though. But a small treat can be a great addition to your gift arsenal.
  5. Candles: Candles make excellent gifts. You can give tea lights in small, attractive holders, or you can purchase an attractive scented candle to give. There are a number of ways that you can make a frugal gift [4] out of candles.
  6. Lotions and bath items: You can pick up small lotions and bath items to give as gifts. I like to have minis of matching lotions and shower gels on hand. I add a tube of shiny lip gloss, and it’s a small gift pack that many people appreciate. You can also make your own gifts [5] of scented soaps and lotions, if you want, and have those on hand to give.
  7. Recipe books: Put together a recipe book of quick and easy recipes, or put together a desert book. There are plenty of small binders that you can use for this purpose.
  8. Kitchen items bouquet: Assemble small bouquets of kitchen items and utensils. A salad service set, or a collection of different peelers, or a set of spatulas can make a good gift. Tie the items together with raffia, or with bright ribbon.
  9. Spice collection: Make a gourmet spice collection. Or even just keep it to three gourmet salts. Put the spices or salts in small clear containers, and present them as gifts.
  10. Gift cards: You can purchase a number of gifts cards in denominations ranging from $5 to $25 to different places in town. You can also get more generic prepaid debit cards. Give these as gifts any time you’re in a bind.

(Photo: …love [6])