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5 Gifts for 5 Hard-to-Gift People for Under $5 – all at Trader Joe’s!

Posted Dec 08 2011 10:00pm

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Some people on your Christmas shopping list are easy to buy for – mostly the ones you know and love the best. The rest? If your list is anything like mine, it has a few head-scratchers that make you want to resign Christmas once and for all. What do you give to someone who gives everything away as soon as they’ve opened it? Or to the person you barely know, but appreciate nonetheless? Or to the person who pretty much only likes really super duper expensive stuff? Or the guys on your list? You know, they can only handle so many pairs of gloves and funky ties.

I am here to the rescue (cue the superhero music): I have found 5 absolutely perfect gifts for all those hard-to-gift people in your life. Even better? All the gifts are in one place! No frantic store-hopping in search of giveable gifts! Just one place, 5 gifts. Oh, and each gift is under $5. Score.

You’ll find each of these gifts at my favorite grocery (yes, I said grocery) store: Trader Joe’s . Find a location near you .

The Teacher

I used to be one of these, so I can help you out. I loved each and every gift my students gave me (and I’m really not just saying that), but some were more memorable than others. One that sticks out even after many years was a beautiful Christmas-y fresh flower arrangement. Teachers get lots of shower gel, candles, notepads, and gift cards (all appreciated!), but fresh flowers? Not so much. I enjoyed that Christmas flower arrangement all during the Christmas break at home, and I still remember what it looked like to this day.

You can get a fancy-schmancy florist-made flower arrangement, or you can go to Trader Joe’s and buy one of their festive seasonal bouquets for only $3.99. Use your extra buck to buy a vase at the Dollar Tree. (Or be really cheap and just give the flowers). If you feel like splurging, they have slightly nicer and even more festive arrangements for $5.99. (Come on, you can spare an extra buck for your child’s favorite teacher!)


I don’t know about your grandmas and great-grandmas, but ours are both the same: they’re no longer interested in collecting vast amounts of things that will just clutter their lives. In fact, they’re far more interested in giving away what they have than gaining anymore. I’ve found that the gifts they appreciate the most are either meaningful and sentimental or consumable and practical. And both our grandmas have a monster sweet tooth, so that makes gift giving easy.

Especially if you go to Trader Joe’s. Because at Trader Joe’s, you can knock out both gifting requirements in one fell swoop (two birds and all that): vintage hard candy. Vintage meeting the sentimental requirement by creating nostalgic memories of eras gone by, and hard candy meeting the consumable requirement because, well, in a word, it’s consumable. And that cute little box is only $1.99, which means that you can then go to The Dollar Tree (OK, so maybe I should have set you can buy all these gifts in two places.) or the thrift store (yes, trust me, Grandma won’t care if it’s from the thrift store as long as it’s not cracked or stained or of questionable origin) and pick up a pretty little bowl. Pour the candies in the bowl, tie it with a bow, and voila! A gift Grandma will love. (She will love it even more if you spend plenty of time with her on Christmas Day!)

Your 500 Nieces and Nephews

Oh wait, you mean I’m the only one who has 500 nieces and nephews? And OK, I admit, 500 is a slight exaggeration. But when you want to give them each a little something to show ‘em you love ‘em at Christmas time, even 13 (no, 13 is not an exaggeration) can seem like 500, at least as far as your Christmas budget is concerned. The problem is, most inexpensive little kid gifts are cheesy and cheap. And I mean cheap as in worthless, if you know what I mean. Solution? Candy. I never met a kid who didn’t like candy.

But not just any candy. They will get a kick out of this candy! Trader Joe’s sells their very own Candy Cane Coal. I haven’t tried it, but it sounds like the kind of coal even I would love to get in my stocking. And it’s only $1.99, so even if you have 500 nieces and nephews… well, you’re just stuck. But if you have 13, it’s a good price.

Furthermore, you can go pick up a few pieces of felt at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, and make some cute little stockings   in which to gift your candy cane coal.

Your Boss

The traditional gift for the boss-man(woman) is a gourmet selection of fine cheeses, elegant crackers, and yummy sausages, all wrapped up in a powerful-looking package to impress the guy (or girl) in charge. But unless you’re pooling together with your co-workers, and unless you’re a boss, too, you probably don’t have the necessary fundage for such an expenditure.

Do a mini-version instead. Go to Trader Joe’s and buy a package of their Multigrain Entertainers Crackers for only $1.99, and browse around their fabulous selection of cheeses until you find a hunk that fits in your budget. Tee hee! That last line is cracking me up and I couldn’t even explain it if my life depended on it.

Moving on…

Oh, but wait! Before we do, I need to mention that if you wanted to spend a little more on your boss, you can spring for their Tale of Two Cheeses: one wedge each of brie and blue cheese, packaged with a wooden cheese board and teak knife. At only $6.99, it’s still very affordable, and a great gift for any bossy person.

The Guy To me, random guys are the hardest people to buy presents for. Not that I buy presents for random guys! Um, I mean like guys on your Christmas shopping list who aren’t your husband, father, or only brother. You know, the random ones. (Wow, why did I not take a nap today?) For example, extra brothers. And by extra, I mean the brothers you have that you aren’t technically required to buy a present for, but you still want to because you love them. Sounds cruel, I know, but let me explain. In my family, we have so many people, we draw names. We’re only expected to buy a present for the person whose name we draw. Typically, what happens is that we buy that particular person a really nice present, and then something small but  nice for everyone else. That’s what I mean by random guys and extra brothers.

What, you don’t have random guys and extra brothers? Well, then I’ll just have to keep this little gift idea all to myself, then. And you will be left in jealous wonderment as my random guys and extra brothers chow down on their Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joes ($3.99) and obliterate the entire package in one hefty happy bite. And wish you had thought to buy some, too.

Find more of my favorites at Trader Joe’s here .

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Trader Joe’s, and I was not paid for this post (although, if you are a marketing manager for TJ’s, I certainly wouldn’t mind…) . I just love Trader Joe’s!

Shared at Frugal Friday .

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