Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas

I love Christmas. I love to give gifts. I have a lot of people on my gift list. And that can add up.

Every year near Christmas, Billy takes a special tree ornament to church and shows it to everyone from the pulpit. He made it out of the credit cards he melted a few years before we got married! The point:it's not worth going into debt for Christmas. It's possible to have a great holiday and give awesome gifts without breaking the bank.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to save money on Christmas gifts.

1. Buy throughout the year. Don't let Christmas sneak up on you and end up looking for the perfect gift on Christmas Eve. Then you spend more money than you intended to on an impulse purchase.

2. If you have any craft or creative skills at all, use them to make gifts. Again, start early enough that you aren't pressed for time when Christmas is almost upon you. This could be anything from clothes sewn by hand, to handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments, to stories written for your children, or favorite books read aloud on CD.

3. Shop discount or closeout stores like Marshall's, Big Lots, or Tuesday Morning. Also check out local individually owned discount stores. You might have to sort through some junk, but you can find great buys at discount stores on everything from name brand clothes to stationery to housewares.

4. Buy in bulk and divide into inexpensive containers, such as pint jars tied with a ribbon. One year I gave freshly ground whole wheat flour from my kitchen with a muffin recipe. I bought the wheat in 50 pound bags, so it didn't cost much--but everyone loved it.

5. Family and friends who live far away love to receive photos, especially if you have little ones in the house! Use acrylic frames or pretty little photo albums.

6. Don't feel like you always have to buy full priced, new off the shelf items. If someone on your list is a biliophile, find a first edition copy of a book by their favorite author at Bibliofind or Ebay. You can often find items new with tags on ebay or at garage sales. Someone else payed full price for them, but you get them--still new--for a song! People frequently sell items in perfect condition that were probably never used. Add to someone's collection with beautiful but inexpensive antiques from garage or estate sales. You might even find something brand new for free on Freecycle. But shhhhh, it will be your little secret!

7. Give the gift of time. Offer to rake leaves, babysit, or fix a meal for someone on your list. Make a certificate for a special tea time with your daughter or a fishing day with your son.

So you see, it's possible to give a lot of gifts for not too much money. Use your imagination! You'll find ways to save at every turn.


Mark said...

In lieu of trackback, you've been linked here.

Sherry said...

Thanks. Those are good ideas.

thehomespunheart said...

I love these ideas and was energized just reading them! I've tried many of them myself - but, just enjoyed the reminders! Thanks!