We’ve been discussing in our house about how to celebrate the holidays, honor our feelings about not participating in the consumer mayhem, and give meaningful gifts to our family and friends.
One of my dearest friends has a philosophy about wealth and money. She thinks that money is out there just waiting for us to find it. It is just a matter of knowing where to look. I thought of my house and realized that most of the money we could budget for our own holiday gifting already exists in our house– we just needed to find it.
1. Consign books
Oh how my family loves books! For many years running we’ve actually gifted the same book to each other. It is quite ridiculous. Honestly, until my mom got a Kindle, I had the good fortune of getting all of her books after she read them, and there were bags and bags of them for years and years. After I read them, or realized that I wouldn’t, I put these into a pile to consign.
And then there are the kids’ books that we have finally outgrown. While I have a soft spot for wanting to keep board books, I am motivated to move most of them on because a new little toddler could use them, we would reduce clutter, and find some money for gifting.
By doing this, you can get many of your holiday gifts by using your store credit at a local bookstore. No extra output of cash and you can promote literacy. Hooray!
Down in my basement is a stash of a few items I’ve picked up from year to year. Some lovely reusable bags, ornaments, and other sweet items that make perfect gifts for teacher and colleagues. Take a look at what you have already, and see if there are items to be gifted this season. You’ve already spent the money so this doesn’t really count in your holiday budget.
3. Create from what you have.
Take a look at your crafting bin. Have some felt? Cut out seasonal shapes (make two exact copies) and have your little people stuff them with cotton or stuffing, and stitch them together to make an oranment. Stars work really well for this. In this way you can make stuffed animals as well.
How about colorful paper and ribbon? Make ornaments by cutting the fancy paper in small circles. Glue them in a row (3 works well) on a ribbon. Add sequins or glitter if you want. These make an easy ornament or garland!
4. Think beyond things.
Have a friend with a new baby? Give her a night out by offering to babysit. How about giving your girlfriends a gift certificate for a night out on you? That way you can have a shared experience with meaning for both of you. Or offer to make a meal and deliver a meal for a family, what a treat! These are great low cost options.
5. Gift food.
The holidays are a perfect time to get cooking. You can spend much less by making big batches of holiday treats to give to family and friends.
Try this amazing family recipe for pumpkin bread, or this one for ginger bread cookies. I’ve made both and they are delicious, easy and fun, even for a baking challenged person like myself. Here are more ideas for holiday treat gifts.
What are your ideas for saving money and being green during the holidays? Please leave your shards of brilliance for other readers in the comments. I know you have them, so spread the joy!
image: by craftapalooza on Flickr under CC