6 Instant Gift Ideas

For the people on your list who already seem to have everything, here are some fun and practical gifts.


Enlarge Image Stationery Gift

It's the next best thing to being there. Keep in touch with faraway friends with a gift pack of stationery supplies, such as note paper, postcards, postage stamps, a pen, and sealing wax and a stamp. Also include a prepaid phone card, available from post offices, grocery stores, and discount stores.

Enlarge Image Photography Gift

Present a bouquet of memories with film, album, storage box, and frame. For the film "flowers," cut a 1/8-inch-diameter dowel into 10-inch lengths, and paint each one green. Use a crafts knife or paring knife to make a small slit in the bottom of each plastic film container. Slip a dowel through the slit and into the center of the roll of film.

Enlarge Image Sun Gift

For friends headed to the beach or on a cruise, fill a straw hat with sunglasses, magazines or books about their destination, sun block, a disposable camera (panoramic for scenic areas, underwater for scuba divers, or outdoors for the beach), and a travel umbrella for an occasional rainy day.

Enlarge Image Gardening Gift

Inspire a would-be gardener with a pot full of gardening tools and supplies, such as a trowel, pruning shears, gloves, and seed packets for the coming season. For an indoor gardener, fill a terra-cotta saucer with gravel or small pebbles, add a few narcissus bulbs, and wrap the saucer in clear cellophane. Remember to include instructions for forcing: Place the saucer in a sunny spot and add water to just below the base of the bulbs. Keep the water at this level.

Enlarge Image Art Gift

Encourage a budding artist with a gift certificate for a class at your local art center or art museum. Assemble the certificate, a class schedule, and a few supplies, and present them on a "palette" made from cardboard (a pizza box works well) and covered with a second copy of the class schedule. Cut two slits in the palette and thread a ribbon through to tie the supplies in place.

Enlarge Image Pet Gift

Please a pet owner (or the owner's pet) with a new bowl and an assortment of pet treats, toys, grooming supplies, and even a new leash.


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