The Perfect Gift May Be The Most Practical One

Scratching your head about what to get those on your gift list this
year? You may want to consider something practical like a gift
certificate for groceries or a prepaid calling card.
This holiday season, 34 percent of adults said they are more likely to
buy practical gifts, according to a Consumer Reports National Research
Center telephone survey of 1,014 adults conducted earlier this month and
released Thursday. Also, one third of those surveyed said they wanted
to receive more practical gifts this holiday season than last see more
of the survey findings here). But what makes a good practical gift?
Readers commenting on my colleague Ron Lieber’s Tuesday Bucks post about
“7 Ways to Help Unemployed Friends and Family” offered up some ideas
including grocery store gift cards, gas gift cards and just plain old
cash through an online gift fund).
And this recent “Dear Abby” column mentions practical gift ideas
including laundry detergent, toothpaste, bird seed for bird feeders,
handmade coupons for chores, gift baskets of food items think canned
tuna, soup, crackers and coffee), public transportation passes and gift
certificates for manicures, dry cleaning, pharmacies, restaurants and
theater tickets, among other ideas.
Elsewhere, United Policyholders, a nonprofit focused on educating the
public about insurance issues and consumer rights, suggested Thursday
that emergency kits or safety supplies from one of its partners would
make good holiday gifts.
Other surveys are backing up the Consumer Reports findings too. A
National Retailer Federation survey, for instance, released Wednesday
predicted that grocery stores can expect to see an increase in last
minute shopping this year as more people consider food or candy as gift
What are your ideas for practical gifts, and what do you think of this
gift-giving idea? Are practical gifts any fun at all?