Do you have a holiday list that is larger than your budget? The holidays are not a reason to go into debt, or a time of dread. Here are a few tips on keeping your bank account intact, and still enjoying what is supposed to be a wonderful time of the year.
1. Use your words
You don’t need to buy every aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend a gift. Write them a heartfelt card letting them know how much you care for them. The sweetest words letting the recipient know how much they mean to you can have more value than a $10 trinket you picked up at the store. One of my friends writes a letter to all of her friends with words of wisdom from the lessons she has learned throughout the year. I tell you, I look forward to this letter every year, and it is one of my favorite gifts. If you feel that some sort of monetary gift should be attached, donate a feasible sum to a charity and include this deed in the card.
2. Get to baking!
Your kids will love helping you in the kitchen as you create gingerbread men with white icing, sugar cookies decorated like ornaments, ginger snaps, snickerdoodles (our family’s favorite!), or anything else you can bake that is yummy. Need some cookie recipes? Visit BiteClub and jot down some of the wonderful creations that readers have sent in for Heather’s 2nd Annual Cookie Contest. And if you have a cookie recipe of your own to share, be sure to send it to her. The Ultimate Winner will receive a cooking class at Relish Culinary Adventures!
3. Be creative.
Which would you rather receive? An ornament that plays the same tune in a tinny sound, or a Ball jar full of scented Epsom salts tied with a ribbon in a bow? Crafty ideas might be time consuming and stretch your creativity, but they let the recipient know that you were thinking of them as you created something just for them. Some ideas are the classic cookie recipe in a jar (Layer all dry ingredients, and label it with the recipe and what else they will have to include), a thoughtful poem, printed stationary from your own printer, printed paper dolls for young girls and boys….. Think about your talents, and utilize them to your advantage.
4. The Dollar Store!
Before you pass this suggestion up, think of this: There are so many potential stocking stuffers that are lining the shelves in that store! Yo-yos, balloons, hot chocolate mugs, candy, socks, etc. Scour the store and you will be sure to find little items that won’t break the bank and will be sure to enhance the holiday.
5. Mixed CD’s
Get out that CD burner and a bunch of blank CD’s, and put together a playlist for your friends of all your favorite music. When I create these CD’s, I try and include music I love that they might never have heard before so that I can introduce them to something new. But remember, this is a gift for someone else. If you make a CD of your favorite Country music, this might not be the best gift idea for your Hip-Hop loving nephew.
6. Say cheese!
Grandparents will love a beautifully framed photo of your family. You can have the kids help you create a frame, or you can buy an inexpensive frame. It’s not the frame that matters so much, it’s the photo. One of the moms on SantaRosaMom.com takes beautiful pictures. You can reach her website at www.kkirchenphotography.com. Or with expertise using a self-timer or a helpful friend, you can create your own.
7. Anything else?
What creative and inexpensive ideas do you have for gift-giving for the holidays?