8 Ways to Save

8: Send Christmas cards over the internet. They sing, they dance, they have a million different themes! Some are free. Some companies charge per card sent. Other companies offer their services for a monthly or yearly fee. Investigate to see what might be the best choice for you.

7: Make homemade cards. Yes, this is a lot more work than the store-bought kind. But it can also save you money, and it is a greener choice. Use card-stock with a family photo on the front; or make collages from old Christmas cards or calendars; or use the artwork of your little ones to adorn your cards. In whatever way you design your cards, they are a more thoughtful way to greet friends and loved ones this holiday season.

6: Give thoughtful gifts of time, services, or assistance this holiday season. Give a coupon for a car-wash, baby-sitting services, or something else that would brighten their day.

5: If you are part of a large (or even medium-size) extended family that gives Christmas gifts every year … it might be time to consider having a name exchange instead of expecting everyone to buy gifts for everyone else. Have everyone draw a name from the hat and get a Christmas gift for that person. My extended family did this with great enjoyment for a number of years. Although, in addition to buying gifts for the name we drew, each family also bought gifts for all the little ones, so they would have more treasures to open.

4: When I’m invited to a gift exchange, the host or hostess almost always says something like, “Bring a gift of about $10 for the gift exchange.” Why can’t we suggest (or request) a similar limit at our large family gatherings. My extended family on one side had a $15 maximum spending limit for our gift exchange for as long as I can remember. Since we also exchanged names, it meant that we had a wonderful and enjoyable afternoon of opening presents by the Christmas tree at my grandmother’s house … and no one had to spend more than $15 to participate.

3: Don’t buy more decorations. Or, at least, don’t buy new ones. Shop for gently used or vintage Christmas decorations at estate sales, rummage sales or flea markets. Check with older relatives and see if they have decorations that they have replaced and are no longer using. (They’ll be as delighted to clean out the attic or basement as you are to take and use their older treasures.) You can even make handmade Christmas decorations with anything from edible goodies to evergreen branches you cut out of your own yard. Let your imagination get to work and see what you come up with … at little or no cost!

2: Make a list and check it twice. When you go out to make the inevitable holiday purchases, plan ahead. Make a list of people you need to buy for, write down a few notes and ideas for things you might want to get them, and list a FIRM budget for each gift. Most importantly, when you actually start shopping, don’t be derailed by all of the wonderful sales. It’s great to find a gift for someone on your list at a bargain price; but, too often, we find wonderful sale prices on things we want for ourselves. Stick to the gift list!

1: Give edible gifts. You can make baked goods in fairly large quantities, then mix and match a few different ones to create a tin of Christmas goodness. Or make a big batch of jam or jelly; one batch will be enough for quite a few people on your list.

Tomorrow: 7 Wraps for Gifties

See you then.

Meg

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About MargaretAnne

Preacher, Writer, Aunt, Composter, Sew-er, Crafter, Dog-lover, World-traveler, Artist, Canner, Cook, Pray-er, Sister, Retreat-leader, Reader, Daughter.

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