How Can I Make Christmas Special While On a Budget?
Christmas is a special time of the year. It can also be a frustrating time of the year financially. Children and adults are both bombarded with advertisements for the latest toys, gadgets, gear, and jewelry, and many of these items can make a big dent into a family’s budget. Fortunately, there is no reason that Christmas can’t still be special while keeping a sane budget.
The first thing to do to make Christmas special while on a budget is to remember what it is that makes Christmas special for you. Perhaps it is the childhood memories, the family gatherings, or religious beliefs and traditions. Identifying what it is about Christmas that means the most to you and your family, and spending time with your family talking it out can take some of the pressure off to buy the latest Elmo doll or MP3 player.
Homemade gifts for friends and family are another great way to make Christmas special on a budget. Making personalized calendars, homemade jams, pies, or other foods, or any variety of crafts can not only save you money, but they send a message to the recipient that you cared enough about them to not just throw some money at a product, but to invest some of your time, energy, love, and thought into the gift. Often, it is these homemade gifts that will be remembered for years to come.
Volunteering is another way to make Christmas special. Perhaps you can be a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army or another charity. Maybe you can volunteer to help serve meals at the local homeless shelter or women’s facility. You might be able to help an organization by volunteering to wrap charity presents, even if you are not in a position to purchase any.
Don’t be afraid to buy some used items. Your local second-hand shop will often have perfectly good toys and other items for sale. Many times, these are just overstocked items that are still new in the box. There is, of course, always the internet and the online auction sites such as eBay that can save you a good chunk of change on the items that you need to buy. Just be sure to buy these items early enough to allow for shipping time.
Spending time with the ones you love is one of the best ways to make Christmas special. Go caroling with your daughter’s girl scout troop. Visit a living nativity at a local church. Spend a Saturday baking Christmas gifts as a family. Your children are guaranteed to remember these things long after they’ve forgotten the remote-controlled car that was under the tree.