From Sheryl Smolkin’s Retirement Redux blog comes this useful list of budget gift-giving suggestions for the holiday season.
Sheryl is a bit hard on gift cards, which I find perfect for younger people when you have no clue what they really want — plus of course, you can specify precisely how much you will spend for each gift-card recipient.
I find most millennials are quite happy with iTunes gift cards or, if they’re readers, with cards for Chapters or Amazon.
If you’re not convinced about gift cards read this piece from Time a few weeks ago about why some believe gift cards make the best presents of all.
Being a magazine guy on and off over my career, I agree magazine subscriptions are both affordable and have the advantage of showing up all year round. The ultimate here is of course Next Issue, which has been characterized as the “Netflix of magazines.”
If the magazine lover you’re thinking of prefers tablets to filling the blue box with dead-tree editions, then Next Issue may be the way to go. However, at $10/month for monthlies and $15/month for weeklies and all other frequencies, it isn’t quite as affordable as a print subscription to a single publication, which often run about $20/year.
On the other hand, it’s certainly something a whole family could enjoy, with at least 140 magazines to choose from, there should be something for everyone: a Yoga magazine for mum, for example, a golfing mag for Dad, a gaming magazine for the teens, etc. It will literally be in your face (or that of the giftees) every day, depending on how many magazines are chosen (there’s no limit)
My only caveat: It can be a real time sucker if you are intent on getting your money’s worth from the subscription. You may begin a given day all caught up on your magazine reading, only to find yourself at day’s end behind by three or four issues as new editions flow in. You feel a bit like the mythical figure, Sisyphus, forever rolling a boulder up a hill.
As a postscript, I may as well add a third suggestion: e-books. In particular, if you think US$2.99 or C$3.37 is a bargain price (and it is!), then consider the US or Canadian editions of my own e-book, pictured below.
The good news is that while it may be too late to get physical books delivered from Amazon, you should be able to get an e-book delivered right down to the wire. And of course, Amazon does let you specify an e-book as a gift, provided you have the recipient’s email. If they don’t have a Kindle, they can download a free Kindle app for whatever device they have.