by Emily Rankin, MAMFT
When you're low on funds:
The holidays are full of pressures to give your loved ones the next best thing or the newest, shiniest, (fill in the blank). But what about the sentiment behind it? We often assume that more money spent on a gift means more love and sentiment behind it. This makes so much sense when you think about gift-giving in terms of sacrifice. Often, the pricier the item, the greater the sacrifice on the gift-giver's part. But a financial sacrifice is just one of the ways in which to show you care. Take heart, financially-strapped readers! There are lots of ways to express love and sentiment without breaking the bank.
If you're crafty and creative, DIY!!! (Do it yourself). There are literally THOUSANDS of ideas online for making inexpensive gifts for loved ones of all ages.
If you're not so crafty, use your words. One of my favorite gifts I've ever gotten was a sweet note in a pretty picture frame. I've since done this for some of my close friends and it's always a hit! You don't have to spend a fortune on the frame. Just find a simple frame, choose your paper and pen, and write out a note. You can use a 3 point line. Here's one example of a letter for a sister: "Merry Christmas to my sweet sister, my eternal best friend, and my beautiful example in Christ. I love you more than you'll ever know!" It's short, simple, and very sweet. The chances are good that they won't even put a picture in the frame, but will prefer to keep the sentiment as the subject for years to come.
If you're not crafty and you're not wordy, you can give your time and services. Make a coupon book for favors or a pre-planned calendar of acts of service. The coupon book is great if you're fairly flexible and can be accommodating to their schedules. If you're a busy-bee, give them a calendar of events of things that you plan to do for them over the next few weeks, or months. You can help around the house, babysit, walk their dogs, take them to coffee, plan a series of in-home movie nights - any number of things.
The best gifts are often the gifts that require sacrifice. Keep that in mind when you're thinking of your loved ones and stewing over what to give them. We've probably all gotten the gift from the "wealthier" family member that required no thought or sentiment - but only a credit card and a fully staffed gift-wrapping station. Those gifts are not the gifts we usually remember. We remember the song someone wrote for us or the painting that our littlest family member did in art class and "wanted to give it" to us "for Christmas." Finding ways to show your loved ones that you love and treasure them does not always have to mean elaborate presents or time-consuming projects. Keep it simple. Keep it real. Merry Christmas readers!!