The holidays are quickly upon us, and many people feel the emotional and financial strain on their wallets. The wish lists get longer every year, your extended family is growing, and perhaps your coworkers have also added you to their gift exchange. Before you know it, you find yourself reaching your budgetary limits and spending more money than you can really afford. So how can you plan an amazing Christmas on a shoestring budget?
Here are three gift giving ideas I’ve developed during those times when I needed to tighten my belt to make ends meet during the holidays. Each one still shows your loved ones exactly how much they mean to you without breaking the bank. And here’s the best part; they are all absolutely free.
Gift Ideas for Christmas on a Budget
You may cringe at the thought of re-gifting or passing off used things as Christmas gifts. So let me introduce the concept of upcycling which takes one person’s trash and transforms it into someone else’s treasure. Upcycling adds value or improves upon the original product, making it more personal and unique.
You are literally only limited by your own creativity. Think of refurbishing old furniture, repurposing old toys, dismantling old jewelry and turning everyday objects into art. If you are the crafty type, this idea will allow you to showcase your skills and create something truly beautiful that someone else will cherish.
#2 Giving your Time
My mother instilled in me the importance of giving your time to help others. The holidays are the perfect opportunity to step outside of your busy life and spend time with family and friends. As a child, I would make coupon books to do chores or small tasks for others. As an adult, the gifts have changed but the idea is still at the heart of why we celebrate the season.
Our family traditions always include copious amounts of mouthwatering dishes and other favorite treats. Spend time making holiday-themed goodies or a special meal together, and make plenty to share. If the kitchen is not your area of expertise, you can also share your skills or teach someone. This could include musical talents, sharing a special story, assisting with projects around the house, or helping technologically impaired relatives with computer issues. Think of what it is that you do best, and help those around you who can benefit from what only you can give.
#1 Create a Christmas Experience
The most intimate memories are when we can share an experience with the ones we love. This is a lot easier when cash is no issue, but there are thousands of other ways to share an experience that won’t cost you a dime.
My best memories include decorating the Christmas tree, watching holiday movies, and playing games together. There are also other options outside your own home. Many museums, parks, and theaters also offer free admission to concerts and other events. Spend some time researching free attractions and events in your own city, and offer your friends or family an experience they will never forget.
The Reason for the Season
As we get older, the holidays can cause more anxiety than cheer. Don’t forget the real reason to celebrate is to spend time with the ones we love. While we all enjoy receiving nice gifts, remember there are other ways to show your appreciation that won’t cost a small fortune. Step outside the box, and get creative this season to show just how much you care.
- 4 Simple But Effective Ways to Conquer Your Holiday Spending This Christmas
- Financial Roundup: It’s Almost Christmas!
- How to Set a Christmas Budget
Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.