Here are some ideas to save money while still enjoying the Christmas holidays.
In large or small families, drawing names is a great way to cut costs during the holidays. Instead of numerous presents to buy, each family member only buys one gift. The ideal way to conduct the drawing is to set a specific date. Since most families spend Thanksgiving together, this would be a good day to pick names.
The results of the drawing can be revealed or kept secret until the big day. Each person should bring a wish list to distribute after the drawing and be sure to set a price limit for the gifts. This method will also work with groups of friends and at work if gifts are exchanged.
Set an Age Limit
Restricting gift buying for family members over a certain age is another way to cut expenses. Most families who do this limit gift buying to children under 18. For large families this can be beneficial as the gift giving and cost are spread more evenly. Setting the age limit even lower, maybe at 15, cuts down on the number of presents to be brought and still ensures that the younger family members get to experience the joy of Christmas.
If a draw or setting an age limit do not appeal to family members, suggest setting a price limit on gifts if this is not already done. Just be sure to be realistic. While scouring the Internet and malls may produce gifts under $10, a limit of $15 or $20 per person is more realistic in today’s world.
Restaurant Gift Cards
While it is still early in the holiday buying season, watch the local restaurants for bargains like they gave last year. Chances are good that with a $25 purchase, the restaurants chains will again be offering a free $5 gift card. For those who feel that a gift card is not personal, Applebee’s lets buyers personalize their gift cards by uploading a photo or submitting a personal message. The cost: $4.95.
Homemade Gifts/Baked Goods
Don’t forget about giving personal homemade gifts. Recipients treasure those embroidered tea towels, blankets, calendars, etc. Family pictures or pictures of that newborn baby will be loved for years.
And for those people who have no time to bake or can’t bake, loaves of pumpkin, banana, or zucchini bread will be welcome. Even providing all the ingredients for a favorite food like chocolate chip cookies along with the recipe will be appreciated.
Be sure to watch the mailbox. Flyers are now arriving with gift cards attached to use at department stores like JC Pennys and Kohl’s. These can range from $5 -$15 off any purchase. Just make sure that they are used before the expiration date.
Remember that Christmas is about caring enough to give a present not the cost. Drawing names, placing limits on ages and prices, looking for bargains at local restaurants and stores, and personalizing gift giving will add to the joy of Christmas for all.