I love Christmas. It’s family time, it’s friends time, it’s giving time. For me Christmas gifts are about showing someone you care. I do have a feeling however that in some cases “giving” has become all too associated with “spending a lot”. It’s almost become a race to spend as much as you can (and can’t) afford.
This is why I feel that it is important to refocus some of that energy from the spending on to the giving, making gifts less about their monetary value and more about their symbolic value. I am not saying that it is suddenly not okay to give expensive gifts; I am just saying that there are ways in which you can still make your gifts super special and not be under pressure from overspending. So if you have big families (or large groups of friend) and you have a lot of gifts to give, or just want do something different this year here is my Christmas gift guide. With a difference.
Set a limit
If having to get a large number of gifts is your (and your family’s) issue why don’t you set a limit to how much you spend on gifts by person. That way everyone will be spending the same amount on gifts.
Make a rule that gifts can only be DIY, challenge everyone’s creativity. While people may still have to spend some money on supplies the gifts may be that much more special because of the time spent on making them. DIY gifts can be fabulous and so very personal.
Last Christmas my brother made beautiful DIY gifts with bits and pieces they saved when they refurbished their 130-year-old house. I got a most amazing jewelry stand (although it was meant for keys) and he made candleholders, pencil holders and other beautiful gifts for the whole family. That was so cool I think that nothing beats DIY gifts made with love.
Think jams, chutneys, tins of biscuits, knitted scarves, body scrubs, lotions, soaps, bath bombs, flavored salt, spiced hot chocolate (cocoa) mixes, sachets of spices for mulled wine and more.
Family Secret Santa
Do a family version of secret Santa. Pull names out of a hat, set a price limit, and buy just one gift for a family member. This means that you can splurge on one family member or friend, and each year you get the chance to buy for someone else.
Agree that rather than spending money on gifts you will use that money to help someone in need. Buy chocolates and go to your local orphanage and spend some time with the kids or go to your local animal shelter and volunteer some of your time walking the dogs or cleaning their pens.
Give what you are good at
Be creative about what you give. Instead of buying something why not give your time to someone? If you are an accomplished cook give a voucher for hosting a dinner party. Are you really great with kids? Why not give someone a gift of a couple of babysitting sessions? Are good with tools and you know that something in a friends house needs fixing? Give them some of your time and the use of your tools and fix that leaky faucet!
Give something away
Another option instead of buying is giving something of yours that you know is admired by a family member or friend. I recently gave a much loved bag to a friend because although I loved it, she loved it more! Mothers, wrap those pearl earnings you no longer wear and give them to your daughters! These gifts are extra special because they are personal to both you and the person receiving the gift.