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Giving on a Budget

Although times may be tough financially for many people, it’s important to keep in mind that giving during the holiday does not have to be expensive. There are many ways we can give that cost very little or absolutely nothing.

For example, I donate every year to the Toys for Tots program or the Spark of Love toy drive. Many years I have been short on money, but for $10 or $12 I can pick up a couple Hot Wheels cars, a coloring book and crayons, a Little Golden book or two and a pair of gloves or a pair of socks. These are very inexpensive gifts that are sure to put a light in the eyes of any little child and brighten their holiday. It takes very little to make a small child happy.

Donating to the local food drive does not have to be extravagant or costly either. A couple cans of organic green beans or a bag of organic nuts will serve the purpose fine. If a dollar or a handful of change is all you have to toss in the Salvation Army bucket, then that is sufficient as well.

Something both my son and I have given to each other in the past have been coupons that we made ourselves. We cut them out of computer paper or construction paper and used crayons, pens or colored pencils to write and decorate them. Then we offer to do something special for the other.

For example, one year I gave my son a coupon to take him fishing in the future. One year my son made me a coupon in a Word document for a guarantee that there would be no disagreeing for a set amount of time and sent it to me through email. We always put an expiration date on them for a little added humor. For your spouse or partner, you could send them one offering a massage and an unforgettable night of romance. For a friend, it could be a coupon to clean their house for them or babysat for free while they take a day of self-care.

Coupons work great for a few reasons, one- it provides a gift,and  two – both parties usually get a good chuckle out of the act, so it invites humor into both parties life, three – it’s a fun and playful activity, which invites lightheartedness and joy into both parties life.

Holiday cards can work the same way. If you can’t afford cards, then make your own with computer paper, construction paper, crayons, colored pencils, pens etc. If you have an artistic flare and a computer, you could create something in Photoshop and print it out.

A great and affordable gift for any adult is a simple Christmas ornament. You can usually find something beautiful for a buck or two at Walmart or a similar store.

Something else I have done is send humor. If throughout the year I find a cartoon, joke etc. that is exceptionally funny, I’ll make copies of it and enclose it inside a holiday card. Everyone enjoys a good laugh. It brings a smile to the face, lifts spirits and lightens the day. Laughter is good for the body, mind and self.

Don’t forget that giving does not have to include anything material. One of the best ways to give is to give of ourselves. Gifts that come with the human touch are much more meaningful.

Spend quality time together. Take a walk. Watch a movie, play cards, play a board game. Bake some Paleo cookies in the kitchen together. Read a book together. Go fishing, skiing, sledding etc.

Tell others how you feel about them. Express your feelings. Give hugs. Letting someone know that they are loved and appreciated is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

Give the gift of listening. Really listening to one another is a lost art in our society today and is badly needed by many. You don’t have to have the answers, just an ear and a shoulder for support can often make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Happy Holiday and thank you for visiting. I appreciate your patronage.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • John Palmer December 12, 2009, 11:11 pm

    Thanks for these timely suggestions.
    Life is hard for many of us and these simple ideas do more to weld friendships and make a community than just about anything else. Something given from the heart is worth more than a yacht any day.
    I was looking at our keepsake box recently and everything there is hand made.

    John

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins December 13, 2009, 10:40 am

    You’re welcome John. I’m glad you appreciate them.

    Cynthia

  • Justina O. December 21, 2012, 6:46 am

    Thanks so much. With these words, more lives will be touched and love shown; which will put smile on peoples’ face and joy in their heart. God bless you.

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