Here's the thing: money spent does not equal love felt. As Josh Turner says, "Time is love." Y'know those coupons you gave your parents when you were little, for hugs or doing the dishes? Or those coupons you give to your significant other for things like doing the dishes for a week... or having whatever kind of sex they want that night?
As an adult, those coupons feel like cheating. They don't cost you anything but the ink and paper they come on, the credit card company sees no benefit, and it is so easy to never fulfill them. The coupons get shuffled off somewhere, never to be used. However, if Time = Love, and you really want to give someone something they need... those coupons are great. Who needs scented candles that may or may not smell good to you? Or someone else to buy you lotion- which may or may not smell good to you, if it doesn't give you a rash.
Fulfilling those coupons takes real commitment. Effort, even. The giftee may blow them off at first, thinking that you don't mean it and didn't want to spend money on them. It's easy to let that happen, but don't. Call, Facebook, email, whatever, and ask them when you can fulfill that coupon. The best gifts are the ones where you spend time with them while doing them a favor.
- Plant their garden- buy the plants, plan how they are going to be placed, and put them in.
- Go out to lunch or dinner, restaurant and time of their choice
- Watch their kids for an evening, or take them and the kids out bowling, swimming, etc. and help supervise
- Change the oil on their car, and if they don't know how, teach them how to do it
- Mow the lawn/rake the leaves/shovel the snow
- Clean their house- vacuum, dust, sweep, mop. Help with spring cleaning, tackling that one room in everyone's house that is usually called the "storage room," but is basically a giant junk drawer
- Massages, hair cuts, manicure/pedicure, or another special talent you have- treat them with it
- A night out on the town, whether that's bar hopping, going to a movie, taking a spin in the boat, etc
- Baked goods delivered once a month for the next year- everyone loves homemade bread, brownies, and baklava
Lets not kill anyone this Black Friday, okay? I know getting $300 off a TV is a great deal, but seriously, this is crazy!