Saturday, December 1, 2012

How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

The gift of time.
With Christmas just around the corner, are you worried that you can’t afford to buy presents this year? Don’t despair! Nice gifts for family and friends don’t have to be expensive. Be creative! You can make presents yourself, find nice but inexpensive gifts, or give the gift of time. The following tips will help you keep Christmas affordable.

First, Get Some Perspective

Most everyone is in the same boat and need to limit expenditures. Your family and friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness much more than they would an expensive gift. So often gifts are chosen in haste and then quickly discarded by the recipient. While lavish Christmas celebrations may be fun, a simple Christmas is more in keeping with the true spirit of the holiday.

Then Make a Plan

Realistically assess your Christmas list. Decide what level of spending is feasible this year and allocate your resources accordingly. Consider giving gifts to children only – their parents will understand and be appreciative of your generosity. Couple or family gifts are often a more affordable option. For adults, consider a card with a personal, heartfelt message. Be sure to remove from your list anyone to whom you’re no longer close.

A Few Ideas

    Delicious homemade fudge!
  • Homemade Goodies - Baked goods and homemade candy are popular during the holidays and provide an inexpensive way to affordably share the holiday spirit. A plate of special holiday cookies complete with the recipe, festively wrapped miniature loaves of pumpkin and zucchini bread, a small box of delicious homemade fudge or gift-in-a-jar mixes are just a few simple and inexpensive gifts that are appreciated year after year.

  • Homemade Gifts - Simple homemade gifts can be more meaningful than the most expensive item. A photo memory jar, for instance, filled with photos on which memories have been recorded is a personalized gift that will be treasured. Think of other homemade options based on your interests and hobbies. Are you a woodworker who can make picture frames or wooden toys? Can you knit or crochet winter hats or scarves? Do you sew or craft? By putting existing skills and materials to use, you can make a variety of unique and inexpensive gifts.

  • Gift of Time - Giving of your time can be the best gift of all. Taking an elderly person shopping, babysitting so that parents can go out for an evening, inviting a child to the park – these gifts cost you nothing but are invaluable to the recipient. For added fun, make a coupon book so the recipient knows how many times and for which activities you are available.

  • Family Gifts - Consider giving a single gift that the entire family can enjoy. Board games are inexpensive and will be used repeatedly. To get the most bang for your buck, stick to the classics like Clue, Monopoly or Life. Yahtzee and Rummikub are also a lot of fun and, with a little help, can even be played by preschoolers.

  • Start an Inexpensive Tradition - Many families choose to draw names to reduce the expense of Christmas gift giving. If your family hasn’t done this already, consider it as an option, at least for the adults. Another inexpensive tradition that can take the place of regular gift giving is an ornament exchange. Ornaments can be purchased or homemade, either in bulk or specifically for each individual recipient.

Parting Thought

When planning your holiday this year, keep in mind that it is not the specific gifts but rather the time spent together and the Christmas traditions that will be remembered.

1 comment:

  1. I like giving time, and experiences. Spending time with my mum at a concert or an art gallery, something she enjoys and can remember, is a great gift for her.