What is Christmas without gifts? The tree looks quite lonely without presents under it. Presents can be the best part of Christmas morning or the worst part of that January evening when you open the Visa bill and wonder how to pay it.
So what can we do about gifts? Give them generously. Receive them graciously.
When money is not an issue gift giving is a bit easier, so let’s tackle that first.
- Make a list. Preferably early in the year so you can pick up things as you see them at a good price or when you find “just the right thing”. It also helps to make sure you get something for everyone and not too many gifts for any one person.
- Plan ahead- put money in the budget each month so you have a stock pile in Nov and December when most of the shopping is done.
- Plan ahead if you have to mail gifts. The longer you wait the more it will cost and it may not get there by 12/25.
- Ask for a list- sometimes we know what others need, but often we can use more ideas. Hopefully the list will be very specific- size, color, quantity, even website with link. This is like when we were little and we would draw a circle in the catalog.
- Give family or group gifts. Would one bigger gift be better than lots of small things? Consider it.
Now, what if it is a tough time and money is just a bit tight.
- Admit it. Money is tight, but we will have wonderful memories this year.
- Give small gifts to everyone, or maybe just to just a few people.
- Do not give any gifts. It is not required that you give gifts. If you chose this route, I would suggest that you tell those that usually recieve gifts from you ahead of time. It may free them up from guilt of not being able to afford gifts either.
- If you cannot afford gifts think of alternatives:
- Family picture
- Handmade gift
- Homemade food items
- Thoughtful handwritten letter
- Coupons for services- babysitting, yardwork, dinner, favorite cookies, etc
Gifts for the person who has everything? We all have 1 or 2 on our list, so what do we do?
- Personallized items
- Pictures of kids or family
- Food- we all love to eat!
- Donate to a cause that they care about.
- Time- plan an event to share together during the holidays- Nutcracker, Play, Concert, Game, etc.
Next time: Special holiday meals without breaking the bank.