Some ways I am saving this season;
- Finding a budget and sticking to it. In our case, about $50 for us, the same for Operation Christmas Child.
- Shoeboxes: We wanted to give the same away as we keep for ourselves. We were able to fill our shoeboxes full on a budget by finding items we already had. You can use things like new TY bears, etc. I also dipped into our personal food budget and donated some packaged dried fruit to the boxes.
- Myself and my husband love quality time, especially with his occupation taking him to North Dakota for the majority of the time. You have to think if your giftee’s love language is gifts, or something else. We chose very small, practical gifts for each other. Socks and slippers. We will get creative and give each other something else besides that doesn’t cost money. It may include a movie, massage, popcorn, and more quality time!
- The girlies are easy to please. Sparkly, fancy, and lots of (recycled) wrapping. I ordered them each a fancy fan for about $4. I also have a free dollhouse coming their way from my friend Nancy who cleans houses. She has scored me a number of free things, which is a blessing! I might also find some other little presents for them–free items I already have, or that I can make. I think they would like a chocolatey treat as well.
- For friends and family, I try to be mindful of who needs a gift? Again, love language. My sis Ruthie is big on giving and receiving gifts, so it is super-fun to give things to her. The rest of the family may or may not get something. A hostess gift is always nice, but I like it to be something very useful, like a consumable item. Food, wine, artisan soap, etc.
- Gift exchange is the way to go for the extended family. We will do a White Elephant Gift Contest. Whoever gifts the funniest, most outrageous, worst gift will get a prize! The prize will probably be a dressed rabbit, some fresh eggs, or something I can produce. Someone suggested the winner gets all the white elephant gifts, but I draw the line. No one has room to store that much stuff!
- Consumables are great, because everyone loves free food, lotions, etc. and it will save them money, rather than giving them something they were not planning on buying (or maybe the didn’t even want it!?) Cheese, homemade bread, preserves, wine, coffee, chocolate, fresh eggs, fresh produce artfully displayed in a basket… all of these are a very nice gift that will almost certainly be loved. Remember, your giftees are probably on a budget too, and the little extras to put on the table help out!
- DIY: Remember the space issue. If someone is short on space, don’t give them a wall hanging or a knickknacks for the mantel, unless you just know them that well! Can I stress Consumable? I will be making wine (pretty, frugal, and fun; be discerning, because not everyone drinks wine); Fresh Bread is always a hit; Cheese is fun, easy, and not too expensive to make; I will be gifting some dressed rabbits, fresh eggs, and eggnog. If I get really ambitious, I may DIY some Christmas tree ornaments as well–frugal and commemorative, but not something that will add clutter to someone’s room if they are limited for space.
- Go green! Anything you give will need to be stored somewhere. Does your giftee have room for it? Also, is it wrapped with a lot of plastic? Shop smart, or don’t shop at all. If it might go in the landfill, don’t waste your money. If possible, buy used. It’s ok, really. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, then buy something consumable–always a safe bet. Sometimes you can give something you already own, like a clothing item to a sister (we always do this! So fun!) or a family keepsake. Save money and the environment at the same time.
- Last of all, give a gift of time. Coupons for back massages, decorating or painting a room, babysitting, etc. are amazing. I have only ever received a couple of those, and would love to see some more come my way! Free, fun, and totally my love language.
If someone in your life is worthy of a gift, be creative. Figure out their love language before stressing about what they might want–that only makes sense! Some people simply need the cash. Others really would prefer an intangible gift. But don’t burden yourself with something out of your price range. Do what works for you.