These are challenging times for most people. The majority of us haven’t ever seen this kind of economic crisis in our lifetime. We grew up in a plentiful world where we felt like we would have it all, needed more, and the more we spent on gifts, the more people in our lives knew they were appreciated. But what we’ve forgotten is that there are plenty of ways to show thoughtfulness and goodwill to each other without spending a lot. It’s time to rethink gift giving. Our budget party experts have been rethinking gifts with budget conscious giving ideas to help save your pocketbook while regaining the true spirit of giving.
Who doesn’t love getting delicious home baked treats as a gift?! Pull out grandma’s cookie recipes and gather up the kids. Once you’ve made all your sweet treats, package them in inexpensive tins or wax paper lined boxes. You can even repurpose shoe boxes by covering them in wrapping paper or brown butcher paper.
Make A Recipe Book
Now that you’ve made all these delicious treats, put them all together in a little recipe book. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Adorn it with your kid’s smiling faces and viola, you have beautiful little book to accompany your treats. If you want to use the recipe book as a stand alone gift, try gathering friends and family recipes and compile your favorites.
It feels like everyone is struggling right now…but some are struggling more than others. Help your family keep perspective and be reminded of the importance of service. Volunteer at a local food bank or homeless shelter as a family. Give to those who need a little kindness. It’s costs nothing and feels great.
Just Say No
If the holidays have you stressed out, decide as a family not to exchange gifts. Plan an activity for the day instead. If it’s snowy, build snow forts and snowmen, have a snowball fight and give small prizes to the driest person. Play a game of touch football, go cross country skiing, go ice skating before dinner, have a board game tournament, or a talent show. Do whatever it is your family loves to do together and don’t worry about exchanging gifts.
Donate Your Time
Give the gift of yourself. Maybe you have aging parents who can’t keep their yard up; spend an afternoon weeding, mowing and planting with them. Maybe your best friend can’t seem to finish the painting project in her house; spend the day helping her out. Offer y0ur babysitting services to your friends who need a night out! Sometimes people need a little help but have a hard time asking for it. They will be so appreciative of your willingness and thoughtfulness. Your time is worth more than a card or flowers!
Use Your Skills
Why spend lots of money in the store if you can create it better yourself?
- If you are a stellar photographer- take pictures of friends and family then frame them up.
- If you are a knitter, sewer, crocheter extraordinaire, create some scarves, hats, placemats, handmade stockings, etc for everyone.
- If you enjoy making cards, why note put together some stationary packs for people? Personalized thank you cards, or blank cards are always great to have on hand.
Give An Experience
Just giving someone your time can be the best gift. Create a coupon book (you can find templates for these easily) for a trip to the zoo with your niece. Set a date to take your sister to the museum exhibit she’s been wanting to see. These outings will create lasting memories and you get to spend quality time with friends and family.
Personalized Gift Boxes
Make your own gift box. Try to do something specific to the person’s interests. Use boxes you have around the house and decorate with wrapping paper or pictures
- Movie buffs- A DVD and some gourmet popcorn
- Relaxation lovers- fuzzy socks, tea, and a good book
- Car enthusiasts- Detailer quality car wash and, scrub mitt, and a chamois, (use a wash bucket as your container)
- Coffee lovers – A big coffee cup with a gourmet coffee blend or a gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop.
Make a Personalized CD
Download some of the recipient’s favorite songs. Add a personalized CD label. It’s something useful and thoughtful.
Give to various charities in friends and family’s names. You can give as much or as little as you want. Check out global giving for some charitable inspiration.
Giving and receiving gifts just feels good. But maybe we need to rethink just what we are giving. Consider these budget gift ideas to help you create a thoughtful gift you can be proud of giving.