As the season of Holiday gift giving approaches, you may be running short on time, cash, and ideas. Before you buy supermarket fruitcakes for everyone left on your list, here are some unique Christmas gift ideas that are sure to please—and won't end up on the "return" list the day after. I gathered all of the following gifts during my weekly shopping trips to the co-op and supermarket, plus a single short trip to one of my favorite thrift stores, so they're also time-efficient tasks for this busy time of the year, and each one cost me less than $20.
#1: Breakfast in a Basket
I'm as fond of sweet treats as the average person, but this time of year few of us really need more sugar, or baked goods that need to be eaten right away before they go stale. At the local food co-op, I purchased the makings of several easy and good-for-you breakfasts, including a two-pound box of organic whole grain baking mix (with recipes for pancakes, waffles, and biscuits on the back; $2.65), a bag of seven-grain hot cereal ($2), a small bag of dried blueberries ($2.75), and another of dried cranberries ($3.50), as well as a jar of local honey ($5). All are packed in a square basket I found at the thrift store ($2), lined with a cheerful holiday-themed placemat from the same place ($2)—perfect for bringing hot biscuits to the table in later. The recipient can tuck all this away in the back of the pantry, to be rediscovered and enjoyed some snowy morning in February.