Gifts That Seem Expensive… But Really Aren’t

by | January 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM | General, Shopping

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By: Lindsay Sakraida, dealnews Features Director

During the holidays, it’s natural to want to give the world to those we love; after all, nothing is too good for our parents, siblings, spouses, and dear friends. But a smart shopper never financially overextends himself at the holidays. So how exactly can you impress your giftee without blowing your entire budget? It’s all about perceived value, sentimentality, and need. These notions are subjective of course, but we’ve found that the following gift ideas  have the ability to make your giftee think you splurged on their holiday present, when you really just shopped wisely.

RELATED:  10 Gifts You Shouldn’t Buy for Christmas (& 10 Alternatives)

Designer Products at Mainstream Retail Chains

The whole idea behind high-end designers producing an accessibly-priced line of products available through a mainstream channel like Target or Sephora is to make money off the cachet attached to the brand name. And it works, as exemplified by the immense popularity of Target’s designer capsule collections. Currently, the retailer is promoting its exclusive Neiman Marcus collection, which includes wares from designers such as Marc Jacobs, Lela Rose, Oscar de la Renta, and more. Many of the price tags however are a bit high to be considered inexpensive, but a few items are priced just right. Like this Tory Burch Lunch Box ($19.99 with $5.18 s&h), which can serve as a  makeup bag and will delight any fashion-loving lady on your list.

Pearl Jewelry

Regardless of how easily this gem is now produced, the pearl still exudes an air of class and elegance over other jewelry. (For some though, it might just seem stuffy, so make sure you know your audience with this one.) We periodically see inexpensive options — like this 9mm White Freshwater Pearl Necklace ($14.99 via coupon code “dealnews25″ with free shipping, a low by $9) — that still have the luster and weight of pearls that the average person will associate with a much pricier product.

RELATED: Slow Shippers: Avoid These Stores for Last- Minute Gifts

Free Gift Cards

While doing your shopping in general, be on the lookout for retailers and restaurants that offer free gift cards with minimum purchases. For example, REI currently includes a $20 gift card with orders of $100 or more. The deal is probably meant to be a nice extra for the person placing the order, but you could always include the freebie with a gift to make it seem all the more valuable. Just be aware that some stores will offer this freebie as an eGift card, which is more difficult to pass on.

Quirky Gifts

We were inclined to title this option “something from ThinkGeek,” but really, anything that has a high quirk factor will work, since the coolness of the gift tends to override the actual value of the item. Got a friend who loves photography? Try getting one of those travel mugs that looks like a telephoto lens, i.e. the Camera Lens Mug ($15.99 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $4). You might have to expend a bit more creative energy than usual though, since this type of gift works best when it really fits the personality of the recipient. But if they happen to like Star Wars or Doctor Who, you’re pretty golden at ThinkGeek.

RELATED: The Best and Worst Things to Buy in December

Gifts That Play Up Nostalgia

A sentimental connection to an item is the easiest way to give it transcendental value, and these days, it’s easy to find a wealth of products that play upon our “good old days” memories. Urban Outfitters shills many such wares, but we also love all the retro kitchen appliances from Nostalgia Electrics; some are just fun, while others like the Nostalgia Electrics 4-Pretzel Soft Pretzel Maker ($19.99 with free shipping, a low by $5) can genuinely tap into past memories of whiling the hours away at the mall and living off of Auntie Anne’s and Orange Julius smoothies. You could even convince a depressed Hostess fan that the pictured Nostalgia Electrics Cream-Filled Mini Cupcake Maker($19.99 with free shipping, a low by $5) can recreate their favorite cupcakes.

To see other inexpensive gifts, visit dealnews.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.