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4 Great Tips to Buy Gifts for Distant Relatives or Friends
By Jill Peterson
Buying gifts for distant relatives and friends who you rarely see, can be really
daunting even to the most experienced shopper. There are a handful of factors that
make a seemingly simple task terribly difficult to accomplish.
For example, you don’t have a good idea of their current interests or hobbies because
you don’t get to see them very often. In addition, getting practical gifts like clothing
may not be a desirable option due to the fact that people tend to put on weight with
Moreover, you also need to consider the cost and complexity of shipping holiday gifts
to relatives and friends who live hundreds of miles away from you.
Here are a few helpful ideas to make holiday shopping for distant relatives or friends
more manageable and at the same time, save a wee bit of money on shipping charges.
What Are Some Good Gift Ideas for Distant Relatives and Friends?
1. Before anything else, do yourself a huge favor and call them to catch up prior
to gift shopping.
By giving them a quick phone call, you can get a great deal of insight into their
life. Besides, it’s also a great opportunity to keep in touch.
You can find out a lot of things during a phone conversation. Subtly ask about their
latest hobbies or leisure activities they enjoy. If your friend is very into video
games, ask whether he is still crazy about Angry Birds, or has he found new interest
in Swampy? Have your family members lost or gained weight since the last time you
saw them? Is your close friend talking a lot about her favorite lime green color,
or has she suddenly grown a love for caramel orange stuff these days?
Alternatively, to be on the safe side and take the guesswork out of gift giving,
you might want to ask your distant relative or friend what they would actually like
All of these little nuggets of information can make holiday gift shopping a whole
lot easier for you. Plus, you can be very sure that your gift is something that they
2. Another option you might want to consider is purchasing a gift certificate. It
can be a pampering experience at their favorite spa, a delicious meal at a classy
restaurant, or even a gym membership. This may not be the most exciting holiday gift
but it is one that is sure to be deeply appreciated by your gift recipient.
If you are looking for a bargain, sign up with Groupon. It offers many attractive
deals on a plethora of services and products, and is available in over 35 countries
across the world.
3. Shipping the gifts to distant relatives and friends can sometimes be a problem,
especially if you are shipping the gift close to Christmas time when the lines in
the post office are long. So plan ahead, say a week or so, to avoid the wait.
One simple way to avoid expensive shipping costs, is to purchase gifts that are relatively
small in size. By doing this, you not only save on excessive charges associated with
shipping items which are oversized or heavy, but also reduce packaging waste. Scented
candles make beautiful gifts for someone who has everything, and they don’t weigh
much. Pedometers are also great small gift choices for a fitness buff while a set
of sable hair makeup brushes is sure to delight any beauty enthusiast.
4. If you are planning a trip to visit your distant relatives during the holidays,
you could consider purchasing gifts that are small enough to fit in your suitcase
so you can transport the items yourself. For example, a pewter photo frame, a charm
bracelet, or a leather wallet. It saves you shipping costs as well as the hassle
of dealing with standing in long lines to ship the Christmas gifts. Gift certificates
as mentioned earlier are excellent options for shipping.
If you’re on a really tight shoestring budget, there are a quite number of fabulously
cheap gifts that you might want to look at this holiday season. You can frame your
kid’s artwork for a lovely aunt, or personalize a coffee mug for an old friend with
permanent markers, or consider homemade baked goods. These frugal gifts are even
more valuable and can score surprisingly high on the “wow factor” because of your