Over the years, I worked in retail as seasonal help during the Christmas season. One observation I noticed was the many frustrated shoppers. I rarely saw a cheerful shopper. Each year, Christmas gift giving season increases the anxiety level of thousands, if not millions of people. Adding to the frustration is that they have to make decisions on less and less available resources, as consumers clamp down on credit card spending.
I know society has tried to convince to spend a ton of money on gifts to show our love. I am all for nice gifts, as long as it does not hurt financially. Below are some gift-giving ideas that will not blow your budget.
Give homemade products. Bake cookies or treats. Learn a new craft, like scrapbooking and make family memorabilia products. Create a family recipe book or a special family heirloom.
Give your knowledge. Do you do something well which others wished they could do? Do people often ask you to show them how to________ (you fill in the blank)? Hold a class on how to set up an iPad or some other technical or specialized knowledge. Give an hour of your time for a consultation or service that you normally would charge a fee and your friend or family members would have to pay for otherwise.
Give your time. Have you ever seen one of those IOU books that you can cash in for special favors? Create a coupon booklet to give to friends or family members to cash in later. It could be babysitting, dog watching, or some other task that you are frequently asked to help. Offer to volunteer at your child’s school.
Give your heart. Even though we buy gifts, often times what most mature individuals want to know is that someone cares. Write a heartfelt letter to a parent or elderly relatively. Add a framed picture for an added touch. It will be cherished forever.
Give yourself. Make time for the people who matters most to you. Visit a relative you have not seen in a while. Invite a few friends over for dinner or schedule a lunch date. Give someone your undivided attention.
Give your love. Don’t worry about what you have to spend or not. Give from your heart and give the gift of love. Start a new tradition with family or friends. Enjoy one another and create new memories. Serve at a charity event or help another family in need.
If giving the right gifts this Christmas is causing you mental and financial stress, then reconsider your actions. Do not let pressure override your peace of mind and your budget. Give the gift of LOVE. It is the reason for the season and the gift that keeps on giving. You’ll feel better for it.
Watching your budget? Are you spending more or less this Christmas on gifts? Let’s chat below.
Samirian Hill, a.k.a. The MoneyWise Teacher, is a financial educator, advocate, blogger, and contributing writer. She founded BudgetWise Financial Solutions, where they teach people to manage money wisely. In her spare time, Samirian enjoys golfing, reading, and cooking.