Give them food, of course. There are baskets out there already put together with gourmet jerky for exorbitant prices, or fruit for merely outrageous. There's the Omaha steak option, if you can afford it, and the Fruit of the Month clubs.
Frankly, that's totally out of our budget. Especially since my whole family tends to be clutter bugs.
Don't get me wrong--I understand why. Most of my family are on a fixed income, the rest on near-minimum wage. And they own property they really can't afford to pay taxes on or take care of, can't budget (or stick to one, when they try to set one), and can't plan ahead well enough to be able to predict "unexpected" expenses, like oil changes. They almost have to keep everything--they're not able to predict what they'll need to fix something that breaks, so they wind up throwing away exactly the part they'd need.
With examples like that, I don't know how I wound up even as functional as I am.
So. I'm on a very tight budget, this year, and want to do treat baskets for my family (Mom & sister are planned for--three other households to take care of). Best I can do is buy everything separately and assemble them myself.
I'm starting with a partial ten-pound bag of naval oranges--we got it to make cranberry relish before Thanksgiving*, so I don't figure that into the cost of the basket. And a pomegranate apiece for each of two households (again, kind of got a box of four partially for me, so it isn't figured into the cost). Found a six pound box of really good pretzels (six 1 lb bags in the box) that I got to go with sandwiches at home, and plan to use that as filler. I also thought that I might assemble a few little bags of pre-mixed spice packets for whole roast chicken rub that I use, and maybe some homemade hot cocoa mix.
Now, into the things that I'm going to have to buy. I can get a 10 pound bag of apples for under $5, so a bag of those will go into the baskets I'm going to be assembling. My relatives love avocados and guacamole, so I can get a bag of those to split between the households. I suppose a gift basket can't be complete without cheese, so one relative will get some jack with habanero, another will get the jack with pesto, another will get garlic and herb--out of a cheese wheel with four types in individually wrapped quarters.
Last, I'll likely look through the produce section at our local Wal-Mart to find some little things to finish out the baskets to individualize them. I don't have any idea what I'll look for, or find, yet.
And yes, I do already have the baskets for them. You wouldn't believe how much of that crap my family already has, and how much they're sure I'll love (I don't). Or how quickly they forget where the baskets came from, so re-gifting in my family isn't a problem--I swear, they can hide their own Easter eggs (or buy their own Christmas presents, and it'll still be a surprise).
So, no, I don't have my Christmas shopping done, yet. I probably should wait for at least a little while longer, too, to make sure the fruit is as fresh as possible.
Great. I'll have to shop with the crazy people that wait until the last minute.
Oh, by the way, here's the recipe I referenced earlier. It's one of my favorite treats.
1 lb cranberries, sorted & washed
1 orange, with peel, quartered
1 c sugar
Combine in blender or food processor. Run appliance until this is the consistency of pickle relish (or finer). Add sugar, if needed. This is really good on club crackers, or biscuits.
10 minutes ago