The end of the year means four major holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Christmas is the one that really stresses parents out, as their wallets take a huge hit. Shopping for gifts is especially difficult that live paycheck to paycheck. As a person who knows what this is like, I typically struggle figuring out what I’m going to get all of my loved ones. Here are a few ideas that I turn to when I’m broke.
1. art – Painting and drawing are fun, but can be stressful when you’re giving it to someone. I suggest planning the piece in November, especially if you’re a perfectionist. Sketch out a basic version of what you’re going to do and slowly add more detail. Don’t try to get everything done within a week; try to take your time so you can give your best work to your loved ones.
When looking for something to draw, think of the interests of the person you are gifting this piece to. If a person likes to keep up a professional baseball team, try painting something that has to do with their favorite player or the mascot of the team. If the person has an aesthetic taste, then do a more simplistic and modern piece. If you are new to art, consider doing the latter before attempting something more complicated.
2. letters – One of my favorite things to do when I’m bored is to write letters. Your letter doesn’t have to be as complicated as Shakespeare’s or creative as J.K Rowling, but something that suits you and the person you’re writing for/about. When writing, try to paint a picture in their mind. Break down your sentences and add enough detail where it flows beautifully while not adding unnecessary information. Balance the sentence so it isn’t too crowded.
Not every sentence needs to be really long. Sometimes adding a shorter sentence between more complex sentences makes the writing flow more smoothly. You can choose to tell your favorite experience with that person, or talk about how that person has helped you in their life. The letter can be funny or emotional, or a mix of the two. Take your time with the letter and make the handwriting really neat, and maybe decorate whatever you are encasing it in.
3. coupons – So I’m sure you think that I’m talking about those annoying packets of coupons that you get in the mail. These coupons are better versions. Take a pack of notecards and write small favors that you’d be willing to do for the person receiving the gift. For example, you could say: “This coupon is good for 1 free movie night” with their favorite food and drinks.
You don’t have to do the full pack of notecards, but maybe 10-20 fun ideas on them. Some ideas are: 1 batch of cookies, a movie night, free hugs, back massage, dinner and a movie, pizza date, etc. Only do these if you are genuinely willing to complete the tasks. If you give them these coupons and back out, then you’re kind of a jerk. No offense.
4. food – Let’s be real: everyone loves food. A quick trip to the dollar store or five below can save you a lot of money while coming home with plenty of snacks and food. If your friend is a healthy eater, then try and find healthy alternatives. Have a bake day and find a simple recipe to make those healthy alternatives.
If you’re not a baker, ask a friend that is to help you out. Not only is it an opportunity to make a gift for your friend, you can also bond with your other friends. I remember one year my nephew made a hot cocoa mix and called it “Snowman Soup.” He was proud of it and I found it super cute.
If you still don’t know what to make, here’s an example. Mason jars a pretty easy to find, and pretty cheap to purchase. There are plenty of cookie and brownie mason jar recipes. Once you get the cute aesthetic layering of the ingredients done, you can decorate the jar with glitter, paint, or ribbons. This is a quick gift that’s simple, cheap, and still cute.
Hopefully this small list inspired you to be more creative when it comes to gift giving. Instead of giving socks or a not needed wallet, you can give something a little more interesting. Of course, every gift you give doesn’t have to be home made. Doing these ideas are a way to avoid spending more money than you have during the holiday season.