Cheap unique gift ideas aren't hard to find. It takes a bit of imagination and sometimes a bit of luck.
Flea markets, thrift shops, dollar stores, and sale tables are great places to find the wonderful and weird. Find a place in a closet to store your finds, so you always have a cache of little gifts on hand.
Christmas brings anxiety about how to find something for everyone on our list, so we have a special page for cheap and unique ideas for that occassion.
We may know more about our close personal friends than anyone else, yet we can still feel boggled about what to buy to show we care, so we have gifts for friends covered, too.
Here are some five general suggestions to get you started.
An oddity I found at a local flea market was a gadget to roll up a toothpaste tube tightly. I started to buy it for a man I'd never met for a Christmas gift exchange.
I didn't buy it, concerned it could be taken the wrong way. Joking at the party revealed he was a frugal guy, and these would have been perfect.
The moral of this story: Trust your gut feeling when your cheap unique gift ideas come to you.
Set your budget and keep it. Some grab bags set a price for you.
On the other hand, what each of us considers cheap for a family member or close friend may vary widely.
A Kindle is the perfect gift for the reader you love. Imagine having a library of books, magazines, and newspaper no bigger than a wallet.
The screen is truly nonreflective as promised.
Now that the Internet delivers newspapers and magazines from around the globe, there's no need to cart a pile of papers to the recycling bin every week.
The Kindle is the next step in making reading whatever you want easier than ever. But the price is well beyond most office gift exchanges and grab-bags.
So, your first step is to figure out what cheap means to you.
A second tip for cheap unique gift ideas is to give something that appeals to the senses.
A cup of tea shared between friends expresses the warmth of shared years, laughter, and tears. Tea Time Gifts from $2 to $30 may be the perfect solution.
Appeal to the sense by purchasing a more luxurious version of an everyday item -- for example, cashmere socks.
Luscious beverages have got to be among the best cheap unique gift ideas. Appreciation for tea, coffee, exotic hot chocolate, micro-brewery beer is more widespread than ever.
The lovely thing about tea is that it comes in a wide variety of flavors, as subtle and lovely as wine. Add to that, everyone seems to be interested in the antioxidents for good health in green tea.
Tuck some flowering tea buds into a clear glass mug. These bloom in the hot water like exotic orchids. Add a packet of honey crystals.
If there's a tea room in your town, add a gift certificate for high tea -- if your budget allows.
For either a tea lover, coffee lover, or gourmet cook, these three traditional and beloved flavors from France -- vanilla sugar, chocolate sugar, and cinnamon sugar -- are appropriately packaged as a gift.
A third suggestion is to buy something that puts a new twist on the ordinary.
Everywhere I go, women want to know where I bought my netbook because it has a pretty skin.
Pink cherry blossoms make every day duties a little prettier. Someone you know may love a nice skin for a laptop, phone, or Kindle too.
For example, pretty umbrellas and rainboots won't break the piggybank. A flower umbrella may take the shape a sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum, and other beautiful blooms. Others are printed with famous works of art.
A fancy bumbleshoot is simultaneously practical and whimsical amony cheap unique gift ideas.
An elegant muffler, a fabulous scarf, or an unusual and adorable key ring are just a few ways to add glamor to everyday life.
Gadgets abound for holiday giving -- and some are time-saving and useful.
A jar opener, a long ago Christmas gift, expired this year and gosh how I miss it. Glamorous, no. Wonderfully useful, yes.
An LED light for when one is in the dark at night, a windshield-wiper breaker for emergencies, or a personal alarm to hide in a pocket or handbag are all uniquely useful and practical gifts.
Magazine subscriptions are another great way to please someone. Find a niche publication that's right up the alley of your special someone, and you will surely be on the right track for a heartfelt thank you.
In summary, cheap unique gift ideas are a challenge that is easier if you have a sincere desire to delight the other person.
Decide how much to spend. Food, small pretty things, and practical gadgets are three approaches to finding that perfect present.