It is not uncommon for birthdays and holidays to sneak up on you when all your energy is going into keeping your head above water. Again, those two-dollar shops are a lifesaver.
Examples of items:
- A number of blank cards that can be used for any occasion. Pictures of beautiful scenery or cute animals generally cover any situation and can be picked up for about a dollar. Sometimes you can find these in bulk.
- Wrapping paper – again, buy on special or after a holiday event has passed and shops are selling holiday paper at about 90% off. No one is going to mind if their birthday present is wrapped in green and red. There’s also the old fallback of the cartoon portion of the newspaper.
- A mix of cheap but useful gifts. It is difficult to offer advice here as everyone has different people with different tastes in their life. No one wants a box of cheap chocolates or socks though.
- Various gift cards to restaurants or local stores and a gift card tin
- Cheap but really delicious bottle of red or white wine. You can get a good bottle for under $10.00 USD. This is a handy guide.
- Handmade soap from markets. etsy.com carries some good stuff, and you can have it delivered to your home.
- Some scratch lottery tickets (the one dollar kind)
- Some stamps. The USPS sells forever stamps so you don’t have to add more than one, regardless of the current cost of stamps
- Some nice stationary, thank you cards, pens
This way, you always have on-hand the ability to send a card to someone, maybe slip in a scratchie, or write a letter on nice stationary about how much you value them (often more meaningful than any present). And if you need to go to a party you have a bottle of wine, some nice soap, and whatever else you have on hand to use as a gift. Other useful gifts could be good balsamic vinegar or make your own garlic or chili infused olive oil in a decorative bottle from a two-dollar shop. None of these go out-of-date and can save your bacon when you are under pressure.