Friday, December 05, 2008

Creative Gift Giving

My friend Jennifer and I decided not to exchange Christmas gifts this year. We’ve been friends since we were 3 years old and have always given each other books, perfume, lip gloss, and other “stuff.” This year, however, my family has very little to spare so Jennifer was nice enough to suggest that we skip the stuff and opt for a gift of time. We plan to get together over my kids’ Christmas break and let that be our gift to each other. Jennifer will treat us to lunch and I’ll cover coffee and dessert, or one of us will buy movie tickets (matinee of course) and the other will be in charge of stuffing her purse full of snacks.

I had already accepted that my gift giving would have to be creative this year. So far I’ve gone with books that I make special by having them signed (I order them directly from my author friends) and fun things like jars of homemade cocoa mix. It’s actually fun! You might want to try. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

· Get a box of small canning jars from the grocery store (they don’t cost much). Choose one for each person on your Christmas list and fill it with their favorite candy, cocoa powder (recipes can be found on the Internet), tea bags, or gum. Cover the lid with a small piece of Christmas fabric or tissue paper and tie it with a ribbon.
· Give a gift of time by treating your best friend to coffee or ice cream.
· Offer to make dinner for your parents or grandparents, promising to do all the clean-up as well.
· Give service “gift cards” – Decorate 3x5 cards and write a service that you would like to provide on each one, such as a night of free babysitting, a manicure for your little sister, or tutoring for a friend who is struggling and wants help in a subject that you excel in. Make sure they are things you enjoy doing so you won’t dread following through.

You can do all kinds of things on very little money. So set the stress of Christmas shopping aside and have fun being creative!

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