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31 great gifts that keep on giving

These gifts continue to provide value long after the holidays are over, and many don't cost very much.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 7, 2011 12:29PM

This post comes from Jason Topp at partner blog Wise Bread.


Wise Bread on MSN MoneyIf you're wondering what kind of gift to buy for the person who already "has it all" this holiday season, you're not alone. It's hard to come up with new and creative ideas for that special someone.


But don't fret. If you're looking to buy a gift this year that won't fade away once the newness wears off, then you've come to the right place. Take a look at these gifts that keep on giving. (See also: "25 gifts you can make today.")

  • Cooking classes. What gift could give back more than cooking classes? Classes are fun and a great way to either brush up on existing skills or learn new ones.
  • Perennial flowers. Why not give the gift of beautiful flowers that continue to bloom each year? No worries if you're not much of a green thumb. Here's some advice on how to choose perennials.
  • A charity donation. If you're looking for something that surely won't get returned or regifted, consider giving a donation on someone's behalf to their favorite charity. Two sites that can help you weed through the various charities and decide which to give to this season are Charity Navigator and Just Give.
  • A Costco membership. Costco memberships are a great way to give a gift that keeps on giving. The savings to be had at a membership warehouse like Costco can really add up, especially if someone doesn't have to pay the $50 membership fee that first year.
  • Rechargeable batteries and charger. It's not the most exciting gift in the world, but for that practical someone on the list, it makes a lot of sense.
  • Photos. Give the gift of a family photo to your spouse, grandparents or other relatives. Use a site like Snapfish to put them into a memory book, calendar, or any number of other creative displays.
  • Toms Shoes. Toms Shoes are an excellent gift because they are two gifts in one. When you buy a pair of shoes, Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.
  • Toms Sunglasses. Toms recently starting selling more than just shoes. You can give the gift of eyesight to someone in need with every purchase of a pair of Toms Sunglasses.
  • Zoo membership. A zoo membership is a great gift for a family with children. The membership can be used multiple times throughout the year and usually includes free passes to extras like the dolphin show (my favorite).
  • Sponsorship of a child. Through an organization like World Vision, you can provide a child with education for as little as $32. You can also sponsor a child for roughly $35 per month, which provides clean water, nutritious food, health care, and education.
  • A pocket camcorder. Give the gift of capturing memories with a pocket camcorder. Here are reviews of pocket camcorders to get you headed in the right direction. Post continues below.
  • A letter. Give a memorable gift that a loved one can reread at any time. Hand-written letters are a thing of the past, which makes them even more special.
  • A famous family recipe. Do you make the best pulled pork with your own special barbecue sauce? Or perhaps no one comes close to that perfect chili recipe like you do. Type your "almost" famous recipe and tape it to a new pot, pan, or other cooking utensil.
  • A vacation. This doesn't have to be a seven-day Mediterranean cruise. It can be as small as an overnight stay in the city or a weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast. Memories created on these trips will last a lifetime.
  • Silk scarves. Looking for an apparel accessory to give to your special someone? Take a look at scarves from Each purchase sends a donation to help women in Cambodia break free from the cycle of poverty by teaching them life skills.
  • (Not your average) greeting card. If you're just looking for a greeting card for the holiday, be sure to check out the great collection from TreeNex. With every card purchase, a tree is planted in a forest for your recipient, and you can even track your tree online.
  • (Not your average) gift card. If you're looking to give someone a gift card this year, consider giving a card that will allow them to help change the world. The vision for Global Giving is to "unleash the potential of people around the world to make positive change happen." Each card allows your recipient to choose what project to donate the gift card amount to. Projects include feeding the hungry, educating children, building houses, training men and women with jobs skills, and many others.
  • Your skills. Are you really good at woodworking? Make something. Have a knack for cooking? Volunteer to teach your skills. Love kids? Offer to baby-sit once a month to give parents a break. Are you a budding artist? Create an amazing canvas to help decorate someone's home. Use your natural talents, be creative, and have fun.
  • Reusable gift bag. If you are wrapping your gift, choose a reusable gift bag so your recipient can use the bag again for someone else. Plus, you'll save some trees.
  • A reusable water bottle. Check out reusable water bottles to help stay away from any potentially hazardous plastics.
  • A special edition iPod. Give the gift of music with a (Product) Red special edition iPod. Apple gives a portion of the purchase price to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.
  • Jewelry with a purpose. If you're looking to give the gift of jewelry this year, check out 31 Bits. Your gift will also give the gift of fighting poverty among women in Uganda.
  • A secret identity. For the wannabe crime fighters in your life, give the gift of living out a superhero identity. The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. has all your needs covered. All proceeds go directly to support the free writing and tutoring programs at 826NYC, a nonprofit that supports students ages 6-18 with their writing skills.
  • A fresh herb keeper. I've never understood why grocery stores sell herbs in huge bunches when recipes usually call for a small amount. Most of the time, we end up throwing our herbs away. Check out a fresh herb keeper, which helps avoid wasting money and food.
  • A fruit and veggie saver. Along the same lines, fruit and vegetables can spoil quickly if you're not eating them right away. Check out fruit and veggie keepers that help keep produce crisp and fresh.
  • Reusable vacuum seal lids. Help your friends or family go green by getting rid of plastic wrap. Not only will reusable vacuum food sealers help keep heaps of plastic wrap out of landfills, they will keep food fresher longer.
  • A good "how to" book. A book that can teach a new skill or way of doing things could be a gift that gives back tenfold. I really like David Allen's "Getting Things Done." You could also try "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss.
  • A coupon book. An Entertainment Book is a great way to give a gift that keeps on giving, or rather keeps on saving. The book offers coupons, discounts and savings in multiple categories like restaurants, entertainment, and car maintenance, to name a few.
  • Magazine subscriptions. To give a gift that lasts all year long, consider a magazine subscription.
  • Netflix subscriptions. Similarly, for the movie buff on your list, give the gift of limitless blockbusters by offering a subscription to Netflix.
  • Food of the month club. Whether the person on your list loves steaks, cheese, pizza, wine, or other foods, you can give the gift of their favorite dish to last them all year long. Check out for that perfect fare. Bon appetit!

What other gifts would you add to this list?


More on Wise Bread and MSN Money:

Dec 19, 2011 3:01PM
Another great gift from JustGive is a charity gift card.  You can make the donation and the person you give it to gets to choose the charity that receives it.  Its a perfect way to give people the chance to make the world a better place.
Dec 21, 2011 4:27PM
Great article. I would like to add a website that actually has over 30 different gourmet gift clubs ranging from salsa, tea, olive oil and BBQ sauce of the month clubs to clubs like soda of the month and Ketchup of the Month. Take a look at ofTheMonthShop to get a true look at a of the Month club website.
Dec 7, 2011 2:14PM
If you’re looking for eco-friendly jewelry, check out She designed our wedding rings and uses only recycled metals and conflict free gems. And all of the work is done in NYC, so you’re supporting our economy instead of paying factory workers overseas. Support US small business and Happy Holidays!
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