How to Give Big without Spending Big this Holiday Season
Posted Dec 01 2009 12:00am
The holidays are indeed a time of giving big and of (you got it!) spending big. By now, though, we're all feeling the impact of the financial crisis in one way or another. Whether it's the high gas prices or grocery bills, cuts in yearly raises or x-mas bonuses, or even layoffs -- we can agree with those State Farm ads:
We're most definitely there.
It's not that we don't love our friends and family . . . but we simply can't shower them (or ourselves for that matter) with lavish items this holiday season. And, really, should we start up again when things get better? Our giving practices are in need of serious evaluation. After all, what exactly is the purpose of giving? I'm remembering something about how it's the thought that counts -- which goes all the way back to 2nd grade. But I guess it really is time to go back to basics.
How can we still give to one another, show one another we care, without breaking the bank??? It's not as hard as you might think.
1.) Make it a family affair. I recently proposed to my immediate family that in place of gift giving this year, we all treat ourselves to a day at the spa -- together. Perhaps even the day after we celebrate x-mas with the larger family group. If we each pitch in and get one treatment, on average it might cost $50 to $80 a person. The best part? Many spas have hot tubs, relaxation rooms, steam rooms, luxurious showers, and other facilities that are included for the entire day you're there.
But, I'll admit, that's still on the steep side, so let's keep our thinking caps on . . .
2.) Exchange homemade gifts. They come from the heart. They can be relatively inexpensive. They showcase your mad skills. Why not knit a scarf for your sister with that skein of yarn you've had in your closet for the past two years? Make some homemade ornaments for your parents -- a gift they'll enjoy well into the future. Maybe baking is your thing. Create tins of x-mas cookies for little cash and watch your grandmother smile as she digs her teeth into your famous chocolate chippers. Are you an avid photog? Print and frame some of your favorite shots -- art is priceless, and great frames don't need to be pricey!
Not much of a crafter? Head over to Etsy or papernstitch and browse through the millions of hand-crafted items, many of which won't set you back too far.
3.) Revel in the little things. Pick up cute basket at TJ Max or Home Goods (or the Dollar Store!) and fill it with steals you find in clearance sections or even at the grocery store. I'm not thinking mindless shopping for any crap you can find with an orange sticker slapped on it. Look for items like note cards, jars of Nutella, last season's dish cloths (I'm thinking Target specifically with this one -- they have tons of great ), delish teas or hot cocoa, etc. It's those little things that can bring a smile to your friend's face, show her you care . . . and yet, cost less than a strip mall haircut!
(Note: No hate towards strip mall salon establishments. I cut and color my own hair most months.)
4.) Donate your talents. We all have unique gifts of our own. Abilities that make us special. Why not give them to one another? For example, my mom also blogs (she's over at Winterberry Creek ) . . . and she's been itching for a new look for her site for quite a while now. So, we've agreed that one of my gifts to her this year will be to help redesign and refocus her blog's look and feel. How about you? Are you excellent at something that could benefit someone you love? Maybe you have a passion for shoveling snow . . . or painting . . . or some other creative bent you could either teach or offer up to your mother or brother, uncle or best friend.
Give yourself some credit! Everyone's got something they know they're the best at :)
5.) Regift. Yeah, I said it. Get two hot pink Snuggies under the tree last year? Someone send you two Scrabble sets for your birthday (this one is a true story -- it happened to my mother-in-law this year)? Receive a fancy bottle of red wine, but you're more of a beer type of guy? It happens. Now, I'm not advocating blind regifting for the mere sake of saving. But if you think your dad might really enjoy that handsome emergency radio more than you would have, consider giving it to him. And I think my mom might actually quite enjoy a hot pink Snuggie.
Do any of you have tips & tricks on how you save big during the holidays? I'd love to hear them! And I'll be sure to add more as they come to me . . .