Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shopping Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas: Tip #24

When it comes to giving for friends and family, it becomes very complicated when you are on a budget and yet still want to give presents or tips this holiday season. Many of us are also dealing with gifting for teachers, for co-workers, giving tips to service providers. It becomes overwhelming and incredibly expensive to try to accomodate everyone!

However, it does pay to have open, honest conversations with friends and family. While it may feel very uncomfortable to start that conversation, you will most likely find a very open and relieved recipient to that dialogue!


Set realistic expectation for gift-giving with friends and family members!

There are countless other options to spending money on gift after gift after gift. Discuss expectations with friends and family, and while setting gift-giving rules may seem to take away from the holiday spirit, it will certainly help everyone with their holiday budgets...which in the long term makes the holidays much less stressful for everyone!

* Set a budget for kids gifts. Really, kids receive so many presents, they will still love and appreciate smaller gifts as well!

* Make handmade presents and "swap" talents. I can knit, you make soap. I will gladly create a scarf for you, if you are willing to create some luscious soaps for me! I know of many handmade "trading" circles, suggest one for your circle of friends. Most everyone has a unique craft talent!

* Draw names for adult gifts in a family. Instead of large families buying gifts for everyone, it is fun to draw names and get one special gift for that recipient.

* Create fun coupons in which you will offer your unique and special services. A friend of mine has a sister who is a masseuse, and she gives coupons for a free massage. Sounds wonderful to me! She really does not have to spend a lot of money on those gifts, and she gives her friends and family a wonderful gift...her time and talent!

* Get together and simply plan a nice holiday event in which you savor each other's company. Instead of everyone spending so much on gifts, each person could create a special holiday food dish that represents their holiday tradition or heritage and simply enjoy everyone's company. A fun potluck-type get-together creates many more lasting memories!

The reality is that many of us do not have the holiday budget that we have had in the past. It is not realistic to run up debt or overspend to try to please everyone we know and love. Many of them, too, are trying to cut back. It makes much more sense to strive to enjoy handmade gifts, share out talents, and ultimately share our time and love together this holiday season.

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