Ouch, No Gifts.

No one can deny that our mindsets have been affected by the recent devastation of the financial markets as well as the uncertainty of the presidential election. Today, the word “luxury” is almost a bad word, and the idea of frivolous purchases makes one seem out of touch.

Ostentatious displays of one’s goods have never been in good taste, nor have gifts meant to show superiority or one-upmanship. However, back in the days of wild spending, ostentatious almost became accepted and everything was appendaged with luxury.

In these crazy times, we still need to say “thank you” and show appreciation to those who are in our personal lives and businesses. Even now more than ever, we wish to hold on to the clients we have, and wish to nurture and give “feel good” thoughts to the friends we have.

The question then becomes, How do we give gifts without feeling remorse or guilt? How do we suggest good taste and deliver a genuine touch of appreciation? It is important to carefully select gifts that are of unquestionable quality and send a message of warmth, comfort, and security.

Top 5 guilty-free gifts for the holiday season:

1. A silk or cashmere throw. There is no better way to convey security, comfort and warmth than with a beautiful throw. Cashmere is the preference, but silk or bamboo throws are also winners. Monogramming enhances the personal touch.

2. Votives. The warm glow of a candle brings a softness to the harsh reality of the current economic crisis. Scented or unscented, they calm your environment.

3. Comfort foods. There is a rise in the sale and consumption of comfort foods when there is uneasiness and anxiety in the air. A box of fancy dark chocolates, roasted almonds, or Italian cookies are all immediate reliefs.

4. Personal luxuries. A silk travel pillow and blanket are sheer bliss when squished in coach on a long distance flight. For those who only travel first class, a silk travel set can rival any airline blanket and pillow.

5. Frames. Frames are a superlative gift as pictures grace most homes and offices. Take it one step further by writing a special message inside the frame. It can be a message of cheer, a message about success, or a message conveying your feelings. Double sided frames are preferred, as the other side can hold a photo, a graphic design, or something of interest to one’s hobbies, passions, or work.