The holidays are fast approaching, and if you're not one of those people who shop for gifts all year long, you're not alone. Still, it's time to get moving! We know the monetary stress of gifting can be harsh, but rest assured that it doesn't have to be. Below, we will give some simple ways to avoid overextending your checking account this holiday season.
1. Make a List
We're not going to tell you to rate your friends from naughty to nice. Simply make a list of all the people you want to give gifts to this year. Include everyone from neighbors to co-workers to best friends and family members. If you want to give a little something to all your coworkers and all your neighbors, it might be a good idea to simply state that, then make another list of their names. This way, when it comes time to search for the perfect idea, you can simply give them all the same thing (we'll touch on ideas a little later).
2. Decide on a Budget
Take a look at your income and decide how much you can spend on gifts. Since you probably want to give your close friends and family more valuable gifts, make room for that. If you need to remove people from the gifting list, do that now so that your budget and your gift-giving list reflect each other.
3. Get in the Kitchen
For that large group of acquaintances, make a large batch of cookies or homemade hot cocoa mix. When packaged up nicely, these types of gifts truly bring joy and help people to know that you were thinking of them. Not sure how to make cookies look festive? Try cellophane bags tied with ribbons. Hot cocoa mix goes wonderfully into small glass jars or mugs. If this is too much, consider simply baking one large item and bringing it into work one day. Think a few loaves of banana bread or a platter of mini cinnamon rolls.
4. If You Can't Bake, Then Make
If you are not a baker, don't worry! There are lots of personal gifts that can be made as well. Mason jar lid magnets can be made with photos of your littles (for family members who love your kids!) or with other photos or festive scrapbook paper painted with holiday-inspired words such as joy and peace. Try your hand at these simple yet elegant bath bombs or any of these beautiful DIY candles.
5. Include Cards
Make your own notecards by simply folding a 4" x 2" piece of paper (festive scrapbook paper works well, but so does thick wrapping paper). Write a small note or simply sign your name for a personal touch to the gifts you give. Punch a hole in the top corner and tie a ribbon through to connect it to your gifts.
6. Think Thoughtfully
Now for those select few who are dearest to your heart. Gifts for these people certainly take a little extra time to put together but they are the most rewarding to give. There are likely a few people to whom you know exactly what to give but still, others who make your mind go blank. Think about your relationship. Think about the time you've spent together. Think about jokes you share or memories that you treasure. Consider filling mason jars with little things that make you think of these people. Do you have a friend who loves chocolate? Fill his or hers with all kinds of exotic chocolates. Do you have a friend who loves to sew? Fill his or hers with various threads, needles, and fabric remnants. Remember that, even for those closest to you, sometimes it's the homemade gifts that are best. A handwritten letter expressing how you feel about a person, paired with an invitation to have coffee together one afternoon, can be a great gift for someone you treasure.
We hope your holiday season is a wonderful time filled with so much joy and that as the days of gift-giving grow closer, you find wonder through the simple act of generosity.