TODAY   |  December 05, 2012

6 ideas for festive, frugal holiday gift exchanges

Jeff Yeager, AARP’s savings expert, says it is possible to have a creative gift exchange with family and friends without breaking the bank. He shares his ideas, from a re-gifting party to an old photo gift exchange that will have your family reminiscing.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now with "today's holiday gift guide," festive and frugal ideas. jeff yaeger is aarp's savings expert and contributor to the magazine. jeff, good morning.

>> happy holidays.

>> love the hat, you're looking good and are ready to go. we need to establish some ground rules about what kind of swap we'll do with our family.

>> sit down with them this time of year and say, hey, can we agree on a more reasonable gift exchange program and that's what i wanted to talk about this morning. for a cheap stake like me my wallet anxiety disorder is out of control.

>> this is the dollar store swap. we do this in our family, and it's the most fun we have every year.

>> agree. everybody gets something just from the $1 store .

>> buy a tacky holiday tie, why spend more than $1. this one actually plays music.

>> great stocky stuffers for the kids, you know. even a whoopee cushion. everybody is an adult until somebody breaks out a whoopee cushion. holiday cards, usually two for $1.

>> so this is a good way to start here, and now re-gifting. are you okay with re-gifting in an exchange?

>> the main thing about regifting, is you have to make sure that you're giving the gift out of the right intent, that you believe somebody would really like this item, that you're not trying to unload it?

>> do you confess to the regift?

>> have a regifting exchange. here's a glass vase we were given. don't care for it ourselves and because it's vintage, we know somebody else would really appreciate it.

>> you unload it on somebody else.

>> we don't unload it. this is a great electric drill and i'm a real carpenter. somebody gave it to me thinking it would be part of my hobby. i have a better one so i'm going to regift a brand new drill.

>> nothing wrong with that. how about the gift card exchange?

>> every year $2 billion in gift cards go unused, so the idea is, one, use them to get a start on your holiday shopping, or top them off. bring them up to a $20 value and regift them. stealth regifting. you need to be careful to check to make sure the cards aren't expiring. it's stealth regifting.

>> you're right. a lot of us sitting around.

>> the old photo exchange. one of my favorites.

>> why don't we agree to give each other an old photo that will mean something to you. one of the most pressures gifts you can give. put them in something practical. a tray that features some of the best yaeger family dinners we've had. a set of coasters with photos and take a frame and just embellish it. one of my favorites. i made this out of old yaeger family toboggan. cracked up and hit too many trees. i took the wood and made picture games for everyone in the family.

>> got to be pretty handy.

>> how about the gift of time.

>> everyone has a skill. give the gift of time. i'll paint any room in their house.

>> and a great one for al roker . i'll come and shovel your walk, one time this win the, but only if you predict the storm in advance. this is actually for savannah. i know she's sort of culinarily challenged so i'm offering her a home-cooked meal and cooking lesson.

>> i'm sure she would appreciate that, and quickly before i let you go, the charity gift exchange , like this one.

>> yeah, it's great. make a donation to a charity of somebody's choice. there's some great resources online. charity navigator , guide star website to help you find those opportunities and volunteer sometime to a charity of the choice. the aarp website has great volunteer resources.

>> might be a cheapskate but you've got some good ideas.

>> stay safe and enjoy the