Everyone agrees that the holiday season is about spending time with special people. Well the truth is, those special people probably don’t want you stressing out over buying them fancy and/or expensive gifts and they probably wish they didn’t have to stress about the same. We come out of each holiday season thinking I’ll plan better next year, I won’t procrastinate, etc. Our intentions are good, but yet another year rolls around and we utter the same words, “The holidays really snuck up on us this year, can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving….” We do it to ourselves every year – no budget and no plan. Here are some ideas to hopefully help you get through this time of year with a little less stress and a little more savings after showering the ones you love.
1) A Picture’s worth a thousand words…lots of pictures are worth even more…
Make a photobook using iPhoto, Snapfish, Kodak gallery, Picasa or any of the other web based platforms. There are so many programs to choose from and they are so inexpensive. You can make a professionally bound hardcover book for $30 or less! It may take you a solid hour to pull this together, but if the gesture is appreciated more than a random knick-knack…isn’t it worth it? Try including some captions, quotes or a few words to capture the meaning of your relationship. It’s a great way to remember fun times together. In our digital age, we rarely print photos anymore to look back on special times. It’s practically a novel idea!
2) Secret Ingredient…
If you’re savvy in the kitchen and even if you’re not, homemade treats are always appreciated. They say “I took the time do something special because you are important to me”. With sites like Pinterest, Food Gawker and Etsy, there are limitless ideas to “borrow” from. Wrap it creatively and voila, it’s totally unique and very personal. To keep it cost effective, try ideas that you can make in a large quantity and then divvy up into smaller, individualized gifts like cinnamon spiced apple sauce, gifted in a ball jar with some pretty raffia tied around or these spectacular vanilla almond cloud cookies in cellophane bag with a festive ribbon.
3) Do something rather than buy something…
Taking the time to understand what’s important to your friends and family is the key to a truly memorable gift. Anyone can buy a gift that ends up being re-gifted or sitting on a shelf collecting dust. It’s not often we treat ourselves to things we like to experience which makes it a great gift idea. Tickets to a game, a ballroom dance lesson, concert tickets, a broadway show, the options are endless in this city of ours. From dog lovers to wine lovers, this opens up a whole world of gift-giving possibilities.
No matter if you choose to go the conventional or unconventional route with your gifts, try to keep in mind what the holiday spirit is truly about. Take time to reflect on your relationships, particularly your relationship with money. Even though it’s much easier to shirk responsibility now, it only puts strain on the future you. With resolution-making time right around the corner, consider devoting one of your resolutions to getting your financial house in order. There’s no better gift you can give yourself then eliminating the stress (not to mention guilt) of the unknown.
Bonus Holiday Tip: Starting in January, set up an automated deduction of $85/mo from your bank account into a separate account titled ‘Holidays’. When December rolls around, you will have $1000 sitting in that account that you can put towards holiday gifts.
#planforit #nowyouknow #guiltfree