Gift Giving on a Budget

The idea of resourceful gift-giving is not a new idea. For the past few decades several organizations have suggested options other than commercialized gift giving to encourage and support our local economies.

Today, when outsourcing and global markets benefit from the fervor of holiday shopping, we are forced to return to our innate resources. We’ve created a monster, and now we have the opportunity to turn the situation around. Instead of spending our hard earned money on cheap, mass produced factory items, let’s consider a few creative solutions.

How many small businesses in your community have recently been forced to close their doors? How many women and men are without jobs? How many of us are hanging by a thread?

Today it’s not unusual for the amount of money spent on an item to mean more than the gift itself. Children and adults compare the monetary value of their gifts, as well as the novelty of technological gadgets.

Our economy and pocketbooks can no longer afford this type of decadence. It doesn’t appear that the state of the economy will improve anytime soon, instead let’s adjust and begin to put our hard earned money back into our own wallets?

Some simple, yet sensible, solutions follow:

For years, friends around the world have exchanged homemade presents with loved ones. Hand-crafted items make meaningful and often romantic gifts. These gifts represent time, thought, and heartfelt appreciation. Baked goods, candles, and hand-knit scarves are a sample of gifts that are likely to warm the heart!

Gift certificates for local shops and restaurants that depend on our business (i.e. hair salons, bowling alleys, restaurants, and local craft stores) can mean far more than an ill-fitting shirt that disintegrates after a few washings.

The gift of time is priceless. Hand-made, or computer generated, gift certificates for services (house cleaning, shopping, and babysitting) can make the perfect gift.

Think twice about the expense of decorations, lights, and wrappings that place American dollars into the hands of the ever expanding Chinese market. Recycled paper and containers serve the purpose just as well and allow for creativity.

Consider a community or neighborhood gift exchange. Gently used items that are no longer being used by one family may provide excellent gifts for families struggling to make ends meet.

It’s time to slow down, be creative, and use our own resources. It’s up to us to place meaning rather than money into our gift-giving.

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