It’s time to start thinking about how we will handle the Christmas season that is fastly approaching. It’s no secret that the cost of living has sky rocketed or that our Country is in serious financial trouble. It stands to reason that the majority of Americans will not be in a financial position to be as generous as they may have been in times past. It’s definetly time to make some changes in our gift giving practices. We don’t have to give until it hurts. Especially, when our pocket books are hurting already.
Still, we probably don’t want to act like the original “Scrooge” and forego gift giving altogether. So, we will need to be more creative. I offer the following suggestions:
Set a budget and stick to it! Consider realistically what you can spend without putting yourself in a bind. Everything else that you consider will have to remain within this budget. If you only have $100.00 to blow on gifts, then your creativity will have to come into play, and you will have to shave some names off of your gift giving list. You know how it goes every year. You end up getting a gift from someone totally unexpected and then you make a mad dash to the store to buy one more gift that you simply cannot afford. This year, buy THANK YOU notes for those occasions, and mail them out promptly. STAY WITHIN YOUR BUDGET! The day after Christmas, you will be glad you did.
Inform your children in advance that you are doing things a bit different this year. Especially if they are use to Christmas morning looking as though they just hit the lottery, and you went terribly into credit card debt to get it for them. Children are alot more understanding than we give them credit for if they are allowed the right information. You can start new traditions that revolve around the spiritual aspects of Christmas, instead of the materialistic ones that create havoc on your budget, and create unnecessary stress. Even Jesus, the King of Kings, only got 3 gifts on his birthday. Consider creating a 3 gift rule for your children as well.
Consider giving “couple gifts” to all the married folks in your family. In times past, I have bought gifts my children,and then gifts for their spouses. I am not doing that this year. Instead, I am buying one gift for each couple. It is less expensive this way. If you really want to kill several birds with one stone, then consider giving one gift per family. If the couple has children that are a bit older, then purchasing a game for the entire family to share is an excellent idea. You are not only giving them something fun, but giving them some family time together as well.
Forget the gifts altogether and throw a party! For a number of years now, I have tried to create stress free holidays for my family and friends. Especially at Christmas time. Honestly, what can you give another adult, that they cannot buy their own self, if they really wanted it? I would be willing to wager that most of the stuff bought at Christmas time probably gets re-gifted or stuffed away somewhere never to see the sunlight again. It’s a ridiculous waste of money that’s prompted by some false guilty obligation and commercialization. Just stop the insanity! Why not make a memory instead? Invite all of your family and friends over for a Christmas party. Have everyone bring a finger food, and play some group games. Decorations, Christmas music, the laughter and fellowship of your family & friends, set the tone for a night to be remembered long after the holiday season is over. Let everyone know in advance that the party is your gift to them, and their presence is all the gift you need in return.
Candy, cookies and cakes. Oh my! Gifts from your kitchen make inexpensive and thoughtful gifts for co-workers, teachers, and all of those other misc. people on your Christmas list. Metal gift containers can be purchased inexpensively. Keep the size of the container in mind when purchasing. Too much cake, cookies, or candy to any one person is over-kill. You are trying to give them a delicious thoughtful treat, not feed their neighborhood, or add inches to their waist band. Not to fail to mention that baking can get expensive if you over-do your gift packaging.
It’s the thought that counts! You don’t have to go into debt buying gifts for your significant other either. I can think of a whole lot of things you can do with a dollar bottle of baby oil and some “massage night” coupons. *laughs* That’s just for starters to get your mind wandering. I am sure you can come up with plenty of gift coupon ideas on your own.
Last, but not least, what to give to those super greedy folks on your Christmas list. How about donating a chicken to some third world country in their name? It will teach them the true spirit of Christmas,and give you a good laugh at the same time. My kind of gift. *laughs* Besides all that, it will really do a lot of good for those who are hungry, hurting, and poor.
I am sure you have plenty of budget friendly ideas of your own, and I would love to hear about them in the comment section!