The Christmas season is upon us, but too many of us let gift giving and entertaining dampen our spirit of joy with financial stress. Here are a few tips to help you focus on the reason for the season instead of spending your holiday in the mall and your spring season suffering through the credit card bills:
• Draw Names. Trying to spread a limited budget over an extended family can leave you feeling lackluster about the gifts you’re giving and frustrated by digging through clearance racks and bargain bins searching for all those presents. Try to talk your friends or family into a gift swap, so you can give a gift that focuses on your loved one’s interests and needs without breaking the bank.
• Bake your Christmas List. If you know a friend or family member is having a stressful holiday, give them a casserole or cookies a few weeks before Christmas. Many recipes such as sweet potato casserole, banana bread, cookies, or yeast rolls can be stored in the freezer and thawed out in the fridge the night before they’re needed. Wrap your gift in red or green cellophane with a note: “Just an early Christmas gift to help you out this holiday season.”
• Give the Gift of Help. Ok, we’re sneaking this in for the men and teenage children. We know you have responsibilities that may be cumbersome around the holidays, but many of the ladies in your life wind up cooking from Thanksgiving straight through New Years. The endless stream of casseroles and desserts for family get-togethers, work parties, church functions, and children’s parties can really wear a girl out. So before you stress over how much money to spend on your wife or mother, try doing the dishes after a few of those baking marathons – it’s very affordable and she will love it!
• Use What You Have. Dust off that old glass bowl, dish, or candle stick and attach some inexpensive ornaments combined with fresh greenery or pinecones. Remember to check your yard first – if you’re going to rake those pine cones and needles up next year, you should try to enjoy them now and save a few dollars in the process!
And remember, the ones you love most want your remembrances of the holiday season to be fond memories of friends and family not depressing credit card statements.
Written by Marney Sherrill and Tommye Sherrill at Amazing Grace Gifts, Crafts, and Antiques.
(Amazing Grace Gifts, Crafts, and Antiques recently opened in Woodbury, Tennessee at 105 South Dillon Street. Amazing Grace offers a variety of inspirational gifts, hand-painted items, antiques, art, and pottery. See our ad in the Cannon Courier for current store hours.)