Tired of seeing your expensive and carefully chosen gifts end up months later as the flotsam and jetsam of post-holiday shores?
It's fun to buy stuff. But remember last year's failures -- that robotic pet that broke two weeks after Christmas and the pricey pale pink cashmere sweater your husband will never wear. And now he wants another iPod, like the one that went missing a few months ago?
This year choose gifts that will keep on giving. For your immediate family -- especially your kids -- make finding a gift that will actually appreciate in value a priority. Even if you end up buying them some cheap junk to fill up all the space under the Christmas tree, be sure to choose at least one gem that will last and hopefully grow in value.
The following is a range of gift ideas could apply to spouses, kids, mom, dad and even grandma and grandpa. They may not be worth more next year, but you can bet that in 20, 40 or 60 years time, they will all be worth more than that HDTV you're contemplating buying now.
1. Jewelry. Think gold, silver platinum. You can't go wrong.
2. Gold or silver coins. Put one or two in a nice velvet bag. They are pretty and fun as well as excellent stores of value.
3. Savings bonds. It's hard to jazz these up. But get your kids or nieces and nephews some to sock away. They may not squeal with delight when they open the envelope, but they will appreciate them later on.
4. Stocks. The trick to making a gift of stock meaningful is to fit the pick with the person. Mom glued to Google? Get her Google Inc.(NASDAQ:GOOG). Your brother is Mac-happy? Apple Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be sure to please. Stocks like The Walt Disney Company (Public, NYSE:DIS) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) can be fun for kids to own and look like decent picks right about now.
5. Antiques. Linens, china, jewelry, furniture -- you name it -- can be beautiful as well as increase in value if cared for properly. If you're lucky, you may even find a bargain at your corner thrift store. For kids, consider antique toys, which can be very cool and, best of all, aren't likely to have any loud or flashy features.
6. Original art. It's hard to make money this way, but the right painting, photo, print or sculpture is likely to be treasured by the recipient. Choose right and the piece could prove an unexpected gold mine in the future.
7. Collectibles. The key to making money on collectibles is to identify something that not everyone is collecting (that's the problem now with all those baseball card or beanie baby collections out there, for example). Scan eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) for fresh ideas and see if you get a close relative started on a hobby that will be fun and maybe even lucrative some day.
8. Silver. It's not just for wedding gifts. Think pens, candle sticks, cake knives. Buy them from luxury vendors like Cartier and Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) and they are likely to increase in value and be cherished.
9. Wine or fine liquors. This takes some expertise (which I don't have), but rest assured, you can buy a bottle today that will be worth a lot more in a few years.
10. Crystal. The best in wine glasses, vases and small sculptures from places like Steuben and Simon Pearce can be works of art as well as treasured keepsakes that should only get more valuable over time.