For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. – Isaiah 9:6 Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for Christians. We exchange gifts with family & friends to show our love and appreciation. If your shopping list is growing into a financial or time-consuming burden, get creative this year! Be Proactive The Never-ending Cycle Do you have a friend that always remembers you with a wonderful gift every December, causing you to feel obligated even if your budget is tight or you have no idea what to give them? Send a sweet note now to stop the spending-giving cycle. Mention how you always delight when you hear the pretty wind chimes they sent last year, but this year your family feels so blessed and wants to exchange warm wishes & updated pictures only. Your friend may secretly appreciate your initiative to take the burden off of them, too! Secret Santas Your small group, workplace, or gal pals draw names every year. One gift for this group and one gift for that party can add up in money & shopping time. You struggle to find something meaningful within the $10 limit. Suggest early that Christmas be a little different this year. Everyone brings a white elephant item from their house for a gift-swapping game. Items can be random or a theme like a unused jewelry, a scarf, a homemade treat, or a dusty kitchen gadget. The laughs come from the surprises inside the pretty paper and the swapping. Go a step further and have a fun raffle of white elephant items with the proceeds supporting a local charity or other agreed-upon organization. The Cash & Gift Card Exchange The baby that squeezed the stuffed toy with delight & the preschooler that got lost in picture books has grown into a teenager wearing brands you don’t recognize. If your extended family’s Christmas has morphed into exchanging checks or gift cards, brainstorm about making a collective donation in your family name to the church building fund or sponsoring the hard-to-adopt large families on the Giving Tree this year. Cashless Gifts: The Thought Really Counts Teachers Teachers touch our children’s lives in important ways. A handwritten Thank You note from you and your child will be treasured more than another apple ornament. Go one step further and write a formal letter of appreciation to the school principal, detailing the wonderful things your teacher does every day. Projects of Christmas Past Got a few projects that didn’t make the December 25 th deadline? Find that shoebox full of materials and finish the projects for this year. You receive the gift of space while your friend receives a one-of-a-kind homemade gift. Host a UFO (UnFinished Object) party with other crafty friends now. Food Everyone loves food! The simplest cookies on a plate, with your handwritten Christmas card, makes a wonderful gift. While your friend is frazzled from a hectic holiday routine, she can recharge with a sweet treat and a cup of tea. Your famous candy is a universal gift for anyone you want to remember, even if you don’t know their favorite sports team or perfume. Time is Priceless Children Make up coupons for playing a favorite game, making a yummy recipe together, serving breakfast in bed, or picking wildflowers in the spring – whatever is special to your kids. Friends Print up a coupon for two hours of deep cleaning help, yard work, or babysitting. For the older folks in your neighborhood, give coupons for rides to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, or church services. Aging Family The eldest are sometimes the hardest to buy for if they are limited in their abilities or living space. Your grandmother will cherish the time you put into a long letter of your memories of her famous cinnamon rolls, fried chicken, and handmade Barbie clothes. For a distant relative, promise more frequent phone calls, emails, or pictures next year. Mark it on your calendar and do it! Many seniors want to jump into the computer age, but need a patient tutor. Give weekly lessons on how to use the internet and email. Grandpa wants to laugh at the kittens on YouTube, too! The Greatest Gift The greatest gift of all is God becoming flesh with the birth of Jesus. This year, you can set an example to your family and friends by simplifying the giving and celebrating the real joy of Christmas. What is the best creative gift you have given or received at Christmastime? Meet us in the comments section! Image by Ruth Black / Shutterstock Related Articles: No money for Christmas? How To Set Your Christmas Budget How To Best Save Money During The Christmas Rush Getting Ready For Christmas: 7 Things To Do Today 10 Tips For Throwing A Birthday Party On A Budget Christmas gifts that will be remembered 9 Homemade Christmas Gifts That Might Actually Get Used Cherie is a small business accountant with a passion to teach others about personal finance -especially military families through the Financial Peace program. With her son & daughter at college, Cherie enjoys spending time with her husband of 23 years, quilting, and volunteering. The articles on this site are for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. Also, many of the CPF articles help us pay the bills by using affiliate relationships with Amazon, Google, eBay and others. Find out more here .
See the article here:
A Creative Christmas: Increase Your Joy, Decrease Your Spending!