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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 age.


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 for Christmas.

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 really want.  



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 personal touch.




best gifts for distant relatives friends

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