If you’re anything like me, you’re poor. The holidays are a really hard time for poor people. Suddenly you’re expected to spend money that doesn’t exist. On other people, no less. Or maybe you have just enough money to buy gifts for your family, but you have friends you know are getting you something, so now you have to get them something (which is the true spirit of the holiday season). Or maybe you had plenty of money but you spent it on yourself.
One thing working in your impoverished favor, is that during the holidays, no one can fault you for a bad gift if it appears that you put thought into it. That is our goal here today: gifts with feigned thought put into them. Gift baskets are great for this purpose.
Now, I know when you think gift basket you’re thinking fancy pears and Boursin cheese, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The beauty of a gift basket is you can make it as expensive or inexpensive as you want, and the fact that you gathered things in a basket gives off the illusion that you put a lot of thought into your gift.
The most important aspect and step one of these gifts is the basket. Look around your basement. If you really are an American, there’s a cheap basket from a yard sale somewhere in your house. If somehow you don’t have a basket, it’s past yard sale season and you’re going to have to buy one. Try a craft store.
So with that, gift basket ideas for those of all varying poverty levels:
1. Movie Night Basket
For the super poor: Look around your house for an old DVD still in its cellophane (this actually points to a greater lesson: always keep your DVDs in cellophane until you’re ready to use- you never know when you can use Legally Blonde 2 for a last minute gift. You won’t miss it). Steal 2 cans of soda, candy, and popcorn from around your house.
For the poor: Go to Walmart and look through the big bin of $5 DVDs. Bonus if you can find something fun like Spice World, but you’ll probably just end up with White Chicks. Look for random candy around your house, maybe buy a box of Goobers. Get two cans of diet coke from the super market vending machine, buy a couple of rum nips, and a box of popcorn.
For the barely employed: Movie passes or a season of something like Breaking Bad. Buy a 6 pack of glass Coke bottles (put two in the basket and keep the rest for yourself), rum nips, assorted boxes of movie candy, a box of popcorn, and those little popcorn flavor shakers. Instead of a basket a cute idea is also getting one of the buckets of popcorn you can get at Blockbuster… if you can find a Blockbuster.
2. Fiesta Basket
For the super poor: Hopefully you have an unopened bottle of tequila or some nips around. If not, you probably wont’t get out of this cheap. If you do, then take a lime from the fridge, steal a bunch of salt packets from McDonald’s, get a bag of tortilla chips and call it a day.
For the poor: Get like, 5 nips of various tequila brands (pass it off as a tequila tasting. I think that sounds pretty legit), buy chips, salsa, and then go to the dollar store and buy some maracas.
For the barely employed: You can get a bottle of Chi-Chi’s light margaritas for 7.99 (don’t spring for some brand name Skinnygirl. You’re not made of money). Get a taco making kit at the super market (they probably have that, right?), and then obviously the maracas so they have something to do after they finish the Chi-Chi’s.
3. Wine Basket
For the super poor: Your options include 3 Buck Chuck or regifting a bottle if you can. Don’t worry, there is no shame in 3 Buck Chuck. It’s still alcohol. Again, steal what you can from the house. Maybe put crackers and cheese on your parent’s grocery list for “yourself.” We must be resourceful in these trying economic times.
For the poor: Do what you can with the bottle of wine. Then head to CVS and get some jerky, a bag of Hershey’s kisses, some generic crackers, and cheese.
For the barely employed: Wine. Then try the Christmas Tree Shop if that is an option for you geographically (and God help you if it isn’t), and look for some festive wine glasses, which usually only go for $1.99, but really up the overall production value of the basket. Then assemble any other wine-y things we’ve discussed based on how much money you have left.
As you can see, there’s a basket for every price range. Only your own creativity can limit you now. Now go forth and spread cheer like you were always meant to do.