How To Use Free Samples for Holiday Gifts

Are you the type who always picks up free samples when you travel, attend conferences or just walk near a free giveaway table? If so, you can stop those samples from cluttering up your home and use them for holiday gifts. Free samples can supplement just about any gift and save you money at the same time. Follow these steps so you can use free samples for holiday gifts.

  1. Gather your samples. Before you head out shopping get an idea of what you already have. Hopefully during the year you have been stockpiling those samples in a single location like a box in the back of your closet. If not, now is the time to gather them together in one place.
  2. Make a list. Make a list of all the people you plan to give a gift to. If necessary include any gifts you have already purchased and what you plan to get for that person.
  3. Match the samples to the list. If you know you want to get your mom a gift basket of bath goodies then this is the perfect place for those shampoos, lotions and body washes you have collected over the year. With those little bottles you know all you need is a basket and a single big ticket bath gift like slippers, a great bottle of lotion or body butter or cozy washcloths to complete the basket. You might even have collected a basket in your travels that will work. What other samples have you gotten? Maybe some golf balls and tees from that conference you attended would go perfect in the basket for dad or grandpa. Go through your pile of samples and the gifts on your list and get creative pairing them together.
  4. Remove the advertising. When giving free samples that were given to you at conferences and sales events you might need to do a little work before you package them as gifts. Remove any advertising labels or stickers. Take off the tags that say sample, please take one or not for individual sale if you can. Some samples might not be useable if one of these tags is advertising a hotel or establishment that might offend the gift recipient. Now is a great time to divide any sets. If you received a sample body powder and perfume set when you purchased another perfume at a department store, consider breaking up the set. You can give them to two different people or gift them together in a gift basket.
  5. Provide pretty packaging. Once the labels are removed you need to repackage the samples into a gift. Arrange them in a nice basket, box or tin that complements the gift.
  6. Get creative with leftovers. Even with several pretty and useful gift baskets you might find yourself with left over free samples like yo-yos, squishy balls and toothbrush or nail grooming kits. Get creative and add these items to gift sets for the kids in the family, use them as stocking stuffers or put them to good use in your future craft projects.

Using free samples to supplement or complement gifts in baskets or pretty sets is a great way to recycle those samples. Gather them together throughout the year so you have a collection to give away during the holidays but don't keep any freebies for longer than one year.


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What a great idea -- I can think of quite a few kids and teenagers in our family that would love to open up a whole basket of goodies. I'm going to start collecting items just for this purpose. Thanks!

By Marion Cornett