Christmas is coming, and we all know what that means: spending money. I know that’s not the focus of the season (at least, I hope it’s not for you). It’s a season of gratitude for Jesus coming to Earth as a human and choosing to die for our sins. Because of what He did, we can love each other and express that love through giving gifts. Honestly, I love the Christmas season! Rarely do I come across someone who isn’t smiling or wishing their neighbor well while in a holiday mood (unless they didn’t get their discount at Hobby Lobby. Then watch out!). However, I can’t deny that in an attempt to show our appreciation to friends and family, Christmas can mean financial strain. But it doesn’t have to! I am here to help you out.
1. Set a budget
Setting a budget is just good practice for everyday life, but especially when you’re about to go on a spending spree. Plan what you are going to spend and set that aside. Now that you have it, keep it. Don’t use that money for anything else and don’t add money to it, unless your daily budget allows for some wiggle room. The holidays can be a source of stress for the wallet, but budget are a huge help to keeping that weight light.
2. Plan what to get each person
Now that you know how much you can spend, it’s a good idea to plan what you want to spend it on. This helps you create a list before you shop and can help you spend a lot less. You can look up and compare prices online and determine whether each gift is within your price range. Remember, stick to your budget!
3. Don’t count out thrift stores or dollar stores
It’s easy to look at the big fancy stores when looking for gifts, but there are lots of ways to spend less when you shop at smaller establishments. It might take some more digging, but spending the time means saving a bundle! Plus, shopping locally is always preferable, right?
4. Make it yourself
I don’t know about you, but most of the people I talk to are more excited about their friends utilizing their talents than receiving a fancy gift. A painting, some hand-lettering, a wood carving, a cross stitch, or any other type of craft is a super cool way to give something personalized to your family members, and it shows off your talents to the world. What is wrong with that?
5. Add a specialized card
If you ever feel like you didn’t spend enough or your gift is missing some pizzazz, adding a handmade specialized card is always a nice touch. This could be something simple, made out of cardstock and exclaiming “Merry Christmas!” or it could into detail about the story behind the gift and professing your gratitude for that person being in your life. You could get really crafty and add ribbon and stamps, or you could keep it low-key with just your names on it. Either way, a card is a really nice touch that adds some thoughtfulness.
Remember, giving presents isn’t the focus of this holiday season. We want to be thankful for the gift we’ve already been given in Jesus Christ. It’s only out of reverence of this gift that we choose to then give to others. Don’t let it divide your attention and steal your joy. Your value isn’t in how many gifts you were able to give or in how many you received. You are still a good friend and you are valued, even if you weren’t able to buy many presents this year. Let your joy in the season be found in Jesus, and share that with others!