Three Low-Cost (or No-Cost) Last-Minute Gifts

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #415

It’s been a crazy year. I suspect some of you still need gifts for loved ones. Never fear! Here are three unique and thoughtful gifts that won’t cost you much (if anything) and can be delivered in time for Christmas.

My First (and Best) Suggestion

My first and best suggestion is to offer your loved one the gift of your time. Believe me, it’ll be appreciated, and you can surely afford it.

If you’re wondering what, precisely, you could do for your loved one, you’re in luck; here’s an incomplete list to get you started:

  • Prepare and deliver one or more home-cooked meals
  • Do their grocery shopping
  • Provide a ride or rides somewhere.
  • Clean the house
  • Wash or detail the car one or more times
  • Take down and box up decorations after New Year’s
  • Rake and bag fallen leaves

and so on.

If physical proximity is an issue, remote technical support or training is another option that costs you only your time. With screen-sharing built into the Messages app, it’s never been easier to see and control another Mac remotely. Not only can you see their screen, but you can also control their Mac remotely (with their permission), enabling you to demonstrate how to do it right before their eyes.

Possibilities include:

  • Setting up Time Machine
  • Editing and improving pictures with the Photos app
  • Making movies with iMovie
  • Making music with GarageBand
  • Anything else you know how to do, but they don’t

Now, use your favorite word processor, page layout program, or graphics editor to create a gift certificate you can print and mail or save and send electronically. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Remember: It’s the thought that counts.

Buy Gifts Online

Moving right along, if you’d rather pay for a gift than offer your time, you can still order many great and inexpensive gifts online. I’m talking about iPhone cases, Apple Watch bands, tempered glass screen protectors, rechargeable batteries, and all those other gadgets we Apple geeks find appealing. You may have to pay a premium for them to arrive before Christmas, but if that’s what’s essential, you can still do it if you hurry.

Gift Cards Aren’t Always Tacky or Thoughtless

Finally, if you want to send something to arrive on or before Christmas without paying a premium for shipping, consider a gift card from Apple, Amazon, or HEB. I know some (many?) think a gift card is tacky or thoughtless, but with Christmas just around the corner, it may be your only hope of getting something there on time. You should probably send it electronically if you want to be sure it will arrive before Christmas.

Happy holidays!

2 thoughts on “Three Low-Cost (or No-Cost) Last-Minute Gifts

  • Yo Bob! These are all great ideas and remind us all that it’s not how much you spend but the thought that counts! It reflects on you in the best way possible – shows us what you are really made of inside. Can MacFrogger add to this just a bit? If your loved ones have all the “stuff” they need and therefore you’ve decided to give them gifts of love like Bob suggested above, why not make a donation to your local food bank, battered women’s center, local ASPCA, or other great cause? There’s alot of people going through tough times right now, and I guarantee you’ll feel good about helping if you can! Thanks Bob!

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