So many blogs I have been reading are doing a “gift guide” for their readers. I would love to do one too, but maybe you’ve noticed, like I have, all these gift guides have outrageous prices!! I mean, really?! am I really going to spend $52.95 on a candle that is in the shape of a reindeer? Or go into debt gifting my friends a $50 vase. (Yes, I’m actually referring to things I’ve seen).
As you probably know by now, I am a 22 year old recent graduate and I am flat broke like most in my situation. When it comes to Christmas I am just out of my element due to a major lack of funds. But I’ve learned from my mistakes of charging far too much on credit cards and would like to share some tips with you.
1) If you’re giving a gift to someone, most likely they know your financial situation (to an extent) and will accept a card for the holidays. I love giving gifts to my sorority “family” and my pledge class but this year we all know that each of us are struggling, so I took my time and wrote them each a Christmas/Holiday card. Yes, I wrote them late, so they probably won’t get there in time (rookie mistake) but it is the thought that counts. And in this age of email, everyone loves receiving a little snail mail!
2) Sending flowers to important family members that you won’t be able to see this Holiday is a great alternative to a gift. Poinsettias or wreaths are fun things to send to liven up the Christmas spirit… and you won’t have to worry if they’ll be allergic to that wool sweater you send them.
3) Gift cards seem so impersonal and I really think they’re odd when they’re for an amount under $25 but if you have the money to spend and want to give a gift you know they’ll like, a gift card to a store you know they shop at often will absolutely be appreciated. Or find a gift card to a fun place, like a beer brewery or wine tasting place to give them an experience rather than money.
4) A home-made gift may sound tacky or too Martha Stewart-y for you but there are great options for that now. Places like Kodak online you can make an actual book out of old photos to give. My “little sis” in my sorority gave me an amazing book for graduation of all my time that we had together. It’s a great memory that I keep open in my room and turn the page every few days to see a new memory! Photo books are pretty cheap, really cute, and take the hassle out of having them put photos into an empty album you would give.
b) My brother when we were little made a home-made gift of a “Movie Night.” In a movie theatre snack box he put a new DVD (Clueless at the time), a bag of unpopped popcorn, and my favorite movie snack, Sour Patch Kids. It was a cute gift that he put together, that was low in cost but high in fun! Another “experience” type idea.
So remember, just because it’s Christmas/the Holidays does not mean you need to go broke. Use your imagination, give experiences rather than materials, and make sure to stay inside your budget: that is a great way to have an amazing Holiday season!! Hope this helps you! I know I won’t be spending $60 on any random shaped candle, and neither should you.
Happy Holidays everyone!