Let’s face it: The Christmas gift giving season can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Perhaps this year you have decided to step off the materialistic rollercoaster ride that is the American Standard. Maybe you are tired of working overtime the following year because you are deep in debt for having poured all of your resources into one spectacular Christmas morning. Some of you may have suffered your own personal economic collapse and just can’t afford it this year. Whatever your reason is for wanting to be budget-conscious this holiday season, rest assured there are many ways to think outside the box and give something special that will not break the bank.
Low cost holiday gifts can come in many shapes and sizes and some of these don’t even cost a penny. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
The Gift of Time
Offer a free service that will only cost you your time. Perhaps you have an elderly neighbor that cannot physically mow his lawn anymore. Offer to mow his grass for him. Or you might can offer babysitting service for one night for a young couple with little ones, so that they can enjoy a night out. They will be so thankful for your thoughtful gift.
The Gift of Food
Who doesn’t love getting a basket of homemade cookies or a delicious tin of brownies? You may also enjoy giving homemade jams, pickles or salsa. It’s easy to mail these little tastes of home to friends and family that live far away. It’s like opening a box of hugs.
The Gift of Reading
Books are a great gift! Search out your local Half Price Books or Thrift Shop to find just the right vintage book for that special person on your list. You can also find good deals on the sale tables at Barnes and Noble.
The Gift of Memories
Make a simple drawing of a memory that involves the recipient. Maybe it is a place you visited together or a fun time you shared. Frame it and gift it. Photographs are another wonderful present to share in a photo book or framed collage. Another idea is to ask your children to write a story, then scan the pages and create a book with photos to give to the grandparents. Year after year, they will have a growing collection of memories from you.
The Gift of Teaching
Do you have useful skills? Someone on your list may want access to your sewing or carpentry skills. Don’t overlook things like bike repair, baking, gardening or even financial know-how. Sometimes we have a blind eye to our skills. Ask a friend which one of your skills may be in demand and figure out how to offer it to others.
The Gift of Movies
Everyone has a movie fanatic in the family, right? Give a bag of popcorn and a Coke with a $5.00 movie coupon. You could even give them a themed basket with a couple of their favorite movies.
The Gift of Travel
Have a world traveler on your gift list? Give them a journal that you’ve decorated, then add a special message or drawing inside. They will remember your gift throughout each day of their travels as they log their journey.
There are so many options and so many ways to keep it simple and thoughtful. Who knows? It might be the best Christmas ever. Don’t let the mainstream media and the advertisers define your perfect Christmas. Don’t get caught up in spending money you don’t have because the big corporations are telling you what you need or what your kids have to have in order to be happy.
Make the Holidays your OWN by creating memories, not debt.