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Christmas gift giving does not have to be either stressful or expensive. The fall back choices of a spa gift card or fluffy sweater are certainly not to be forgotten but with a bit of thought and some creative web browsing the wome n on your Holiday list will be pleasantly surprised come Christmas morning.

Used Books

Gently used books are available from a number of internet sources including Powell's Books, Alibris, AbeBooks, and of course, Amazon. People who would normally be offended by receiving a used item as a Holiday gift will not think twice about a previously owned book; especially if it is one they have been wanting but hesitated to purchase themselves. Titles that have recently been on the best sellers lists are a good starting point for making a gift selection but to be sure, think about the type of reading materials or movies your friend or relative has talked about past and then select one in the same category. Chances are that someone who enjoyed the last James Bond movie will also like an espionage thriller and a fan of romance novels will appreciate a copy of a classic Danielle Steel work.

Flavored Oils and Vinegars

Even a novice cook will appreciate having flavored oils and vinegars on hand in the kitchen. These simple ingredients can turn an unmemorable meal into one that garners rave reviews. Flavoring olive oil or vinegar is an easy at-home process that is inexpensive and fun. Create a few different types and include a card listing suggested uses for each of the flavors. A tall glass bottle with a tight fitting cap or cork stopper works well as a container for both oils and vinegars and packaging can be either a basket or a sturdy gift box such as those available at

Vintage Costume Jewelry

Jewelry does not have to be expensive nor does it have to be new. Visit a collectibles consignment shop in your area or look around a website like LillysVintageJewelry or Granny's Jewelry Box to find the perfect gift. Costume jewelry pieces have been and continue to be popular with women for everyday, business, and evening accessories. Earrings, bracelets, brooches, and necklaces in everything from Art Deco to Retro to Contemporary styles are available in a range prices.

Art and Crafts

Many communities have an Artists Guilds that promote local art at affordable prices. Photography, watercolors and oil paintings, pottery, sculpture, stained glass…whatever the heart desires from the art world is offered online, in shops, and at festivals and outdoor art shows held throughout the year. Perhaps the lady in question has always wanted to vacation along the Gulfshore of Florida or in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. A Visit to the online shops of area artists may result in the perfect gift for the 'hard to buy for' woman on your list. Another opportunity for affordable artwork are the numerous Holiday crafts shows that pop up in communities from mid-October to mid-December each year.

With a little thought and planning, this could be the best year for gift-giving even in a tight economy.