It’s that time of year again when we wait to hear the pitter patter of reindeer hooves on the roof and anxiously anticipate Santa Claus to slide down the chimney. Unfortunately, getting everything on Santa’s wish list can often prove to be expensive – and with today’s harsh economy, Santa’s gifts may be magical, but his limited budget is very real.
How to Put Smiles on Faces – Without Going Into Debt
Christmas is known for being a happy time of year. However, for many people, it can be the most stressful time, too. In addition to the extra added hustle and bustle, the end of the year can be particularly harsh financially.
The good news is that you can still put a smile of the faces of those on your gift list, without the need to hide when your credit card bill arrives in January. By offering gifts in terms of your talent and time, you not only give a gift from the heart, but potentially one that can last all year long.
Give the Gift of Your Talent
Before deciding on the perfect gift, take some time to really sit down and think about what your loved ones need and how you can offer your talents. If, for instance, you are good at wood working, even small gifts like a homemade foot stool or other small item could be the perfect match.
Certainly if you are a good cook, it goes without saying that a good batch of cookies or brownies can go a long way. If you aren’t the next Julia Childs, though, but are more familiar with things like computers and the world of website building, you could offer your talent in creating a webpage or setting up a Facebook or Twitter account for a loved one who may not be so well versed online.
Give the Gift of Your Time
On top of using your talent, you could also give the gift of your time. For example, do you have elderly friends and relatives on your Christmas gift list? If so, offer to cook them dinner once a month over the next year, or to mow their lawn each week throughout the summer. These gifts, although not wrapped in pretty paper and bows, can prove to be much more meaningful and useful to those who could use them.
Are you good at doing handy work? If so, make “coupons” for your gift recipients that will allow them “one free gutter cleaning” or “painting the living room.” Do you have a loved one who has been “meaning to” clean out the garage for the past several years? They may be a good candidate for your garage cleaning services in the spring.
Gifts That Are Remembered All Year Long
When the gifts you give truly help those who need them, it shows that you put thought into your holiday gift giving. This can be beneficial to those who receive gifts from you, as well as being helpful to your financial budget.
By giving the gifts of your time and talent, your loved ones will really appreciate the thought you put into their items – and this can go way beyond the gratitude from simply opening another scarf or fruitcake – because they are not just receiving a gift from you, but rather a gift from the heart.
George Gallagher is a financial writer for things related to family and education. He also helps graduates find solutions for their student loan consolidation woes.