Holiday giving is a fun, thoughtful way to show people you care. But it can also be a great source of stress and anxiety, especially when it comes to money.
I remember when I used to start stressing about Christmas gifts – right after I finished Thanksgiving dinner. My family would pass the Black Friday ads around and I’d find the perfect gifts for my family, I just had no idea how I was going to pay for it. Oh well, a little more credit card debt won’t hurt, right? Nope. At least, not until the bill came in January. By then, the rush of excitement had worn off and I found myself with serious buyer’s remorse.
That’s really not what the season is about.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love giving. LOVE it. Thoughtfulness is my love language and giving is one of my favorite ways to express it, so come Advent, I’m all excited about figuring out just the right gifts to give the people I love.
Only now, I do things a bit differently.
For one, we set aside money for gifts each month in our Gift Money envelope. It’s typically not much, though, because there are a few things we’ve done that have helped us save big when it comes to gifts.
1. Whittle down the list
My giving list used to be HUGE. I’d try to give gifts to everyone I knew. Family, friends, acquaintances. One year, though, I realized that I didn’t need to and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about not doing so. (Same went with Christmas cards.)
Now, we give to our kids, our brothers, sisters and parents. It’s often something homemade and this year, we’ve decided all gifts will be edible (hurray for not creating clutter!).
Because there are so many kids, we draw names on each side of the family and the kiddos make a gift for the cousin they chose. There’s a $5 limit for supplies or to buy the gift if they don’t want to make it.
I also have a few friends that I give to, but I use the method I mention next.
2. Batch DIY
I used to obsess about giving each person on my list a creative, unique gift. And then I realized that I didn’t need to put that kind of pressure on myself and that a lot of the people in my life liked similar things.
So I started making gifts in batches:
I loved these gifts because they were still thoughtful and I was able to personalize them. But because I could make several gifts in one batch, I was able to make gifts for just about everyone in an afternoon. And all I had to do was buy supplies, most of which were on hand already, which saved a ton of money.
Want more ideas? Here’s a great Holiday Giving Guide from our sister site, tiny apothecary.
3. Pay attention to waste
What does waste have to do with giving? Unfortunately, a lot, especially when you consider how much garbage people produce on Christmas day. By thinking ahead on reducing waste at Christmas, you can save a lot of money:
- If you’re going to DIY, buy ingredients in bulk when possible. This reduces packaging and saves money over buying smaller sizes.
- You can get creative when it comes to wrapping. Instead of buying wrapping paper that will get thrown away, try gifting items in reusable drawstring cloth bags or Kraft paper bags. In my brother-in-law’s family, each person has a cloth sack (much like a pillowcase) and all of their presents are put in there. No waste.
- You won’t have to pay extra to have all the garbage hauled away.
- You can give DIY gifts in extra jars you have on hand or buy them used at a thrift store. Pretty them up with some twine that can be composted.
How do you save money on gifts?