If there is one stressful part of Christmas that most people have in common, it’s finances!
Christmas is all about giving, right? And giving usually costs money. Sometimes money we don’t have and shouldn’t be spending, but we can’t help but get caught up in the shopping and spending. And it never fails that the list of people to buy for seems to grow lIonger every year.
So how do we avoid letting our desire to give and be generous put us in the poor house, or the debt house?
There are a few simple tips we can follow. Such as not using a credit card for any purchases, setting a per-gift budget or an overall spending budget and sticking to it, have a discussion with relatives if you need to make some changes to your traditional gift giving, and always shop for the best price before purchasing anything.
But there are ways to be even more budget savvy, while giving gifts that are special, personalized and straight from the heart.
Below are some budget friendly gift ideas that you might consider giving this year. Even if you aren’t financially strapped and money is not an issue, sometimes gifts from the heart are more priceless than anything bought from the store. So simply get creative!
- Framed pictures of family and friends. It’s great to give a photo or email some digital pictures, but when you give them already framed so they can just be set out for viewing immediately, it is insured to make it onto a shelf instead of a drawer! You can either take new photos, or search through old photos that bring back great memories. Beautiful frames can be found at great discounts at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Big Lots and The Dollar Tree.
- Create a photo book for someone you love through websites like Shutterfly or Snapfish. These books cost more time than they do money but become a family heirloom that can be enjoyed by everyone in the home. Wonderful keepsakes and very economical.
- Use your home computer to create special coupons for friends and family. Using Microsoft Word, or a program like Publisher, type up words like “This certificate entitles the owner to:” Then put something you know would be meaningful or exciting to them. Pull in clip art and borders to make them look even fancier. The key is to just get creative!
- A coupon idea for a husband might be one week of not helping with the dishes; or one full Saturday of watching football without any interruption; or a night out with the guys; or a romantic date night that you will plan and arrange.
- For teens – one week of not having to clean their room, or one night out with a later than normal curfew.
- For kids – two nights of an extra dessert, or a trip to the candy store, a special movie night or day at the park; a private mommy/daughter night or mommy/son date night doing something your child enjoys doing.
- For parents or grandparents – one day of detailed housecleaning by you, or a special night at home with the grandkids.
- If your loved one is a reader, put together book based baskets by selecting a book they might like, and find items to go along with its theme. For example, Nicholas Sparks books are often based around beach themes, so the basket could have dollar store items like flip flops, glasses, sunscreen, etc. Hit the used book stores or local Goodwill where a lot of great books can be found.
- Give home made baked goods, creatively wrapped in mason jars, gift bags, or holiday cellophane. This is a great idea for teacher gifts, neighbors, friends of the family, and that hard to buy for person.
- Purchase unpainted wooden ornaments and paint them yourself. Stores like OrientalTrading.com sell adorable little ornaments for as low as .80 cents each. A few dollars spent in paint and brushes could create a plethora of adorable wooden adornments to give everyone you love. Put the year on the back of each one and maybe a special message. You can also check chain stores for ornaments to make or paint at local craft stores (this week AC Moore Crafts has huge raw wooden ornaments for $1 each!)
- If you have the gift of handiwork, give hand crafted gifts such as knitted scarves and hats, pottery, cross stitch, freshly grown vegetables or spices, etc. Buy some thick cellophane holiday wrap to wrap around your gift item and then tie it up with a pretty curly bow.
- Consider giving the gift of your presence. Visit neighbors you never see, travel to see family you’ve haven’t seen in a while, or h stop by a friend’s office that you’ve lost touch with. Spend an evening with the kids watching a Christmas movie without your phone, laptop or Ipad within reach. Take the kids to grandmoms and cook a special intimate dinner for the hubby. Ask God to bring to mind people who would treasure the gift of a visit, a warm smile, and a tender hug.
And for my favorite budget friend/super personal/spiritually priceless gift idea – a blessings box!
- Create a blessings box full of scripture verses with your loved ones name inserted into the scriptures. I’ve talked about this special gift before, but wanted to share it again as a Christmas gift idea which would be spiritually uplifting all year long. Purchase a small glass bowl or box with a lid, or even a cute holiday canister of some sort, then print insert your loved ones’ name into the appropriate place in the verses, print them out, cut into slips, fold each slip up and put them in the bowl/box. Tie it up with a beautiful chiffon bow or put in a fancy gift bag. This is a great and meaningful gift for anyone on your gift list
For a list of suggested scripture verses to use in your blessings box, click here to visit my Free Resources page and download the document so you can copy and paste the verses and add in your own personalized names, and/or add in your favorite verses. This is a perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list, and even those who aren’t.
Do you have a special budget friendly idea that you’ve ever given or received that you’re willing to share? Leave a comment with your idea! Happy gift giving!
“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. The the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… He thought …means a little bit more”