Alternative Holiday Gifting Ideas

Range Certified Financial Planner
Range Certified Financial Planner
December 5, 2022

The holiday season is here and you may be thinking, “what do I get for the person who has everything?” They usually already have all the normal toys or trinkets, but you still want to give a meaningful gift. Here are some suggestions for the hard to shop for person in your life. 

Gift to an education account

A gift of college savings is a meaningful alternative to traditional holiday gifts, but few parents ask loved ones to contribute to their child’s 529 plan. This presents an opportunity for you to ask your family or friends if they have one established for their child, and how you may contribute to it.

Contributions can be sent by check. Simply make the check payable to the 529 plan and include the beneficiary’s name and account number on the check. Many 529 plans now offer ways to give outside of writing a check directly to the provider by using their member gifting programs. The account owner will need to provide you with the link.

If a 529 plan doesn’t exist, you can open a new plan account in the child’s name. We’d recommend discussing this with the child’s parent(s) first.

Gift cash or other assets

Did you know that every year, you can give cash to anyone, for any reason, up to the gift tax exclusion amount ($16,000 for 2022, $32,000 if married)? This means that if you have someone in your life that is planning to purchase a home, get married, or start a business in the next year, you could write them a check for up to the annual max without having to report it to the IRS.

Some cash gifts aren’t subject to the gift tax exclusion at all, meaning you could give more than the annual maximum. If so inclined, you could give the gift of paying tuition directly to a school or paying medical expenses directly to the hospital to help relieve financial stress for a loved one.

You can also gift assets like highly appreciated stock. (Keep in mind that though the recipient wouldn’t face any immediate tax consequences, they may be subject to capital gains if they sell the stock in the future.)

Gift an experience 

So often, we think of physical things first when deciding what to give someone. It’s just easier to pick up the latest AirPods or a nice sweater. But to elevate your gift giving this year, consider an experience that would be meaningful to the person on your list.

Do they consider themselves a foodie? Then perhaps a gift card for a specific fine dining experience is the way to go. Do they enjoy winter sports? Consider giving  a ski or snowboarding pass.  Do they appreciate  a good self care day? A package at their favorite spa could be the perfect gift. There are many opportunities to offer unique experiences that your friends and family will enjoy.

If shopping online, consider using your credit card rewards programs  like American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards to purchase the gift cards.

Gift to a cause

For the family member or friend who is philanthropic, giving to a charity in their name is a thoughtful way to go beyond typical gifting.

To make the most of your gift, you’ll want to think about their past donation or  volunteer history, conversations you’ve had where they’ve expressed passion about a cause, or even issues that have personally impacted them. This can help guide you in finding a charity that is meaningful to them. 

You can choose to give directly to a specific charity through an online portal (Charity Navigator), or you can use services like tisbest to buy charity gift cards that allow the recipient to decide which charity to give to. Platforms like GlobalGiving allow you to do both.

Gifting games

Another option is to consider asking family members if they’d like to do Secret Santa or White Elephant gifting. Drawing names from a hat and setting a constraint on the gift price is a fun  way to foster creativity to come up with thoughtful gifts within a certain amount.

The truth is, there are many ways to think outside the box and elevate your gift giving this holiday season. Take  the opportunity to be creative as you get into the holiday spirit.

Range is here to help.

With Range, you can work with our team of Certified Financial Planners and get answers to all your money questions.

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