As a guy, shopping is not at the top of my list of things that I enjoy. I do enjoy seeing someone open something that I have thought about, purchased, wrapped (poorly), and given, but the process of shopping drives me crazy. Many people are starting to do alternatives to gifts for Christmas , as well as other times of the year. My wife and I have talked about this at times, too. Since we get so much throughout the year, why would we just get “something else” for Christmas? Also, as families expand and there are more people to purchase gifts for, Christmas and birthdays can begin to get very expensive. Alternatives to Buying Christmas Gifts But what can families do instead of buying gifts? Here are a few ideas that you might want to look into. Some involve money, and others just take a little time. 1. Sponsor a scholarship. You may not have the kind of money it takes to sponsor a college scholarship of any great value, but other events and programs have scholarships, too. For example, each year my family and I attend a series of Bible lectures that costs quite a bit of money to attend. To help offset some of the costs of that event for those who cannot afford it, scholarships are offered. Why not sponsor (or sponsor in part) one of these helpful programs? 2. Volunteer time. It almost has become a running joke in TV shows and movies that people volunteer at soup kitchens on or around Christmas, but what a wonderful way to spend at least part of that day (or another holiday). There are so many organizations that utilize volunteers, especially during the holidays, in every community. Ask around and find one that will allow your children to come and help, too. Talk about a “teachable moment!” 3. Visit. I cannot imaging spending Thanksgiving, Christmas, an anniversary, or a birthday in a hospital, nursing home, or other similar place. Yet, thousands will be in those places each time those dates come by on the calendar. If you live near one, why not just go down one hallway and visit with a few folks? Maybe you could sing a few carols, or just bring some cheer. Honestly, most in these facilities (especially the hospital) do not need to have lengthy visits, so you could help several folks in less than an hour. 4. Donate to a worthy organization. You probably have an organization in mind, or you are really passionate about some area and can find an organization that helps with that cause. Just remember to do your research to make sure that as much of the money that you donate as possible actually goes to the need, not to bureaucracy within the organization. This organization could be your local congregation (or a particular ministry that it works with), a community group, or one of the well-known world-wide organizations that helps with problems such as orphans, a lack of clean water, or crop cultivation. 5. Help with an adoption. Many couples spend the holidays wishing for a child, and knowing that adoption is the only way they will be blessed in that way. Most adoptions, to put it mildly, are not inexpensive. There are organizations that help, but even with that needed aid, families usually spend several thousand dollars to adopt (especially certain international adoptions). Often, people do not realize the cost, not only of the adoption itself, but of travel and other expenses that add up very quickly. Why not help one of these families with an anonymous gift to help pay for this wonderful process? Whatever you choose to do, whether giving gifts or taking a non-traditional approach the holiday, make it memorable. I still remember several gifts I got at Christmas-time while growing up, but I remember the traditions more. These suggestions may help you start your own tradition instead of just boxing up another gift. No matter what, have a very merry Christmas! What alternative gift ideas do you have for this Christmas? Meet us in the comments and let us know! Gift image from Shutterstock Related Articles: An alternative to Christmas gift giving An argument for giving gift cards How To Best Save Money During The Christmas Rush 4 Ways to Maximize College Scholarships and Grants No money for Christmas? Getting Ready For Christmas: 7 Things To Do Today 12 cool Christmas gift ideas Adam Faughn is a minister in Nashville, Tennessee. He is married to Leah and they have 2 children. You can check out his personal blog or follow him on Twitter . 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 .
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Christmas Gift Alternatives: 5 Ways to Give Without Buying Gifts