These ideas are from Mary Hunt's Debt-Proof Your Christmas: Celebrating the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank
Create your family’s “Top Five Holiday Values”, write them down and post them. In what specific ways can our values be expressed in our homes and lives during the Christmas season? How can we share our blessing with other people? Fill in dates on the calendar for special activities that reflect those values.
12 pairs of mittens & gloves
- Pin to ribbon and hang
- Choose free or inexpensive activities in the community (church concerts, community Christmas tree lighting, hometown Christmas parade, etc); write down each person’s favourite breakfast; choose four activities that serve the needy (serving at a homeless shelter, taking candy canes to a nursing home); inexpensive activities to do at home (game & movie nights, pizza making, cookie baking).
- Type each of the special 24 moments, roll up & tie with festive ribbon, put one in each mitten.
- Start activities Dec 1st.
- After Christmas take mittens to homeless shelter.
Holiday spending plan. Include a specific and detailed spending plan, designating the overall amount you plan to spend and the ways you plan to spend it.
Make a chart where you can see spending categories including gifts for kids, spouse, parents, grandparents, other relatives, and friends; gift wrapping, Christmas cards, postage, photo session; baking ingredients; tree and home decorations; admission for holiday events; baby-sitting; travel costs; new clothes, etc.
Four categories for gift giving: gift of Love (something homemade), gift of Warmth (like socks, blanket), gift of Knowledge (like a science kit, books, educational DVD), and a gift of Joy (something they really want).
Christmas memories letter. When you put the holiday ornaments etc away, include a letter remembering what happened that Christmas: the weather, people who stopped in for a visit, a few words about hopes, dreams, and wishes for the New Year. (could also make a scrapbook!)
Gift exchange idea: shop and “buy” for the person what you would if you had all the money in the world. Find a picture, photo, or other visual representation of the object. Wrap your gift properly and be prepared to give all the reasons you chose it.
- Give something you made – a tree ornament, plate of cookies, note cards
- Give the gift of compassion – become a bone marrow donor, donate to a cause in honour of the person – write a description of your experience and give it to the recipient.
- Give what you do best – cook, clean, babysit, drive, shop, scrapbook, research
- Give it in writing – include a short note with each of your gifts telling the recipient what they mean to you and the value they bring to your life.
- Layered soup jar and include note saying donation has been made to local soup kitchen in their honour.
- Create your own “Cookie-of-the-Month” (or Quarter): bake a dozen cookies to include in the holiday gift, along with a card announcing your recipient will receive another dozen each month/quarter all year long.
- A simple cookie cutter in a holiday shape of a star, tree, or gingerbread man can make a great little gift. Lay the cookie cutter in the middle of a piece of clear cello, fill the center of the cutter with tiny candies such as jelly beans, gather the cello and wrap with a bow.
- Birthdays package: include cards & envelopes, return address labels, stamps, and list of all the birthdays for the year.