Christmas: Spend Less and Enjoy More

This year as Christmas approaches, many people are finding that they have less money to spend on Christmas than in previous years. High gas and heating oil prices have depleted savings and with the uncertainty of the economic times, many people are just not willing to run up credit card debt to buy expensive gifts for family and friends. How can you manage to enjoy the season to the fullest and not have any regrets when the season is over?

Homemade gifts

You don’t have to be a craft maven to produce some very impressive homemade gifts. If you are always taking photographs of family and friends consider matting and framing one of them. For only a few dollars you can have a photo blown up to 5 by 7 or 8 by 10. Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Kohl’s sell frames that are gorgeous for anywhere from $5 to $10. If you are not sure when you are going to be seeing family and friends instead of making Christmas cookies for them you can place all the dry ingredients in a festive jar with the recipe and give it to them so they can enjoy your cookies whenever they have the time.

Scrapbooks especially for mothers are a great gift that can be done with a minimum of expense. If you are a scrapbooker already, you will have many of the items you need already you just need to find a special book to hold the memories.

If you enjoy doing family genealogy put together a family history using some heavy stock paper. This will be a gift that family members will treasure for years to come.

Make your own gift certificates

For your friend or family member who has a pet, make a gift certificate offering them pet sitting service. This also works for family and friends who have children or who go on vacations. You can offer your babysitting services or your house sitting services. These are gifts that are very much appreciated and cost you nothing at all except your time.

If you are good at gardening you can offer a certain number of hours of garden services to plant spring bulbs, trim the bushes or prune the roses. For senior members of the family you can offer to drive them somewhere they would like to go, bring them a special lunch or just spend some of your time with them.

Delay gift giving

Make a date to get together with friends after the holidays. The week between Christmas and New Year is going to be offering some fantastic savings, be one of those who take advantage of them. Traditionally there are sales on clothing and anything related to Christmas will be slashed from 50 to 75%. Consider buying some lovely Christmas china pieces, mugs, serving dishes or candy dishes filled with holiday candy. Pick up a few designer Christmas ornaments and put them in a fancy gift bag, box or basket. If you can delay it even a little longer you can get cashmere scarves, hats and gloves for a song or even less for fleece or other materials.

Christmas is a time when love is in the air. Peace is on earth and good will toward men. Nowhere in those sentiments does it say anything about spending hundreds of dollars or running up debts.

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