The budget seems tighter than ever this holiday season. Many of my friends and family are looking for jobs.
To remove some of the stress from having to buy so many gifts on such a thin budget, we decided that the gifts this year would be crafted or free.
Here are some ideas for those who are hard to buy for or when your budget is short on funds.
I have always loved this idea and have used it for wedding anniversary gifts to birthday celebrations.
Create a coupon representing a special reward. You will be amazed how much teenagers love this gift.
Some examples --
Young and old value spending time together. Playing games, watching a movie, or just declaring it a special day with that person is a wonderful gift to give. There is nothing on earth more valuable than the people you love and the time you spend with them. The gift of companionship is such a giving present this holiday season. Wrap up a box with the date you will be spending with that person and include ideas of what you would like to do. Make a larger commitment, like spending every Tuesday with that special someone or having it be one child per week special day. Think about volunteering to read at a hospital or in a nursing home.
Giving a piece of you is a selfless act of love.
Letter with Meaning:
Write a letter to each of your friends or family members. Tell them why you love them and how much they mean to you. Reminisce about the good times you have shared and document your feelings in a letter. Roll the letter and tie with string or frame it in a thrift store frame. I guarantee this letter will be more valuable to the recipient than any sweater, scarf, or movie you could buy for them.
Free Gifts from Children:
One of the best gifts my children could give me is a NO Arguing Day! Doesn’t that just sound like heaven? A whole day of no picking, spatting, or poking at one another. I would treasure that gift! Another gift I would appreciate is a Day of Chores gift. I would love the dishwasher emptied, the beds made, laundry put away, or even just simple picking up after each other. It sounds like bliss in my book. Such simple ideas but so meaningful for a busy mom.
Time for Yourself:
From a busy mom’s perspective one of the nicest gifts I can give my friends is a day to pamper themselves, or a day to shop without children, or a day to leisurely look through magazines at Barnes and Noble. The older I get the more I value time to myself. Gift those busy moms this season by offering to car pool kids or relieve them of their chores for a day so they can have a little time to themselves. Dads also need a day when they can golf, watch TV, or spend time wandering in a hardware store. They work hard and do so many things for their family. Place a thrift store watch in a box or an old clock with the simple phrase “Time for You” written on it. Take over and let them have a day for themselves.
As the mom to a teenage girl, her want list is a mile long but something she enjoys is pampering herself. Create a spa day at home for her. It is simply running a bubble bath, painting her nails, or giving her a facial/make-over. Make it special by putting apple juice in a pretty glass or having chocolates and strawberries for her to snack on. It is all about making her feel like a princess.
Doesn’t every girl wish for that?
Gifts for Children:
I love the idea of having a sledding day for the special nieces and nephews in your life. Wrap up a hot cocoa packet with a message that says “Good for a day of sledding and fun!” Have hot cocoa for them and a wintry story to read or frosty movie to watch after a day of fun spent together. This may become a holiday traditional gift. Double gift by creating a crafting day for the little ones in your life. Finger painting, homemade play dough, or creating a city from boxes and construction paper is a wonderful way to spend the day with friends, cousins, or nieces and nephews. It is way to gift their parents of some time apart too!
There are so many projects you can make for gifts. Calendars are personal and useful presents. Food gifts are a favorite of mine. This year I printed 5 x 7 photos of my friends with their families from different times we had spent together. I found $3 frames at Wal-Mart in my area. I loved seeing their faces when they opened the pictures. I gave them a piece of me and what I like to do.
For more gift ideas, check out these websites.
The website Yes All 4 Free had categories for finding items you were looking for, coupons, and web promotions.
Read the fine print carefully on this site.
Family Crafts list 100 gifts you can make with a photo of each gift idea.
This season try to remember that it isn’t the monetary amount spent on the gift. It is the meaning behind it.
We are all trying to tell our friends and our family how much we love and care about them.