More Holiday Sanity + a Contest

November 9, 2011

in the generous life

While we’re talking about the holidays and keeping your sanity, please take the time to talk through holiday needs/wishes and your finances.

My husband tends to be a spender and I’m a saver.  You can imagine that holidays can be challenging.  Add the cultural call to “spend, spend, spend” and it can get pretty crazy.

Why not discuss and agree ahead of time on what you will do and how you will spend?  Do you really need to buy a gift for everyone you know?  Why not bake cookies and give away small bags of them?  In large gatherings, ask folks to consider a Secret Santa type gift exchange where you only buy one gift or buy a family/group gift (game, DVD, etc.) instead of buying individual gifts for everyone.

You might even let family and friends know that you are planning on a financially saner holiday.  Most folks can identify and will likely appreciate your effort to simplify the holidays.

Bottom line – Plan ahead, be wise and don’t let the holidays wreck your finances.

THE CONTEST – add your “free-to-inexpensive gift ideas” as a comment to this post before November 20th, 2011.  My husband will pick a number and the poster in that position will win Apples to Apples On the Go (aff link), a fun, quick card version of the original Apples to Apples.  Holidays and games go together!


Here’s a nice financial tool (has a phone app as well) – Manilla automatically retrieves, organizes and stores your bills, statements, subscriptions and more.  It will send you due notices so no more “Oops! I forgot to pay the bill.”


Clearing the “Counter Pile” for a Tickler File  – a very nice paper organization help from Simple Mom.


Be generous!  Lori <><
46 days ’til Christmas!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather November 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

We have too many things, and so does everyone in our family! We started out by managing expectations. . . that was actually a blessing from my sister who suggested we just stop exchanging gifts and focus on enjoying each other. We are still “allowed” to give a gift if our heart is moved to do so. I like to do gifts of service for people: setting up my mom’s digital frame to show pictures, ripping VHS tapes to a digital format, scanning old family pictures. My kids like to give “shows”, so this year we have a surprise “flash mob” that we’ll spring on everyone at a holiday get together. It’s been so much fun planning it as a nuclear family, and it will be wonderful gift the kids can give of themselves. Hopefully I haven’t ruined the surprise. :)


michelle r November 9, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Homemade English toffee, biscotti, or turtles and a box of tea.


Amanda Colllier November 10, 2011 at 6:59 am

We have started drawing names and then getting once nice gift instead of trying to buy for everyone. We are trying to get to the point that only the kids get gifts and the adults enjoying visiting and of course eating.


Blanche November 10, 2011 at 7:08 am

Several years ago my husbands family stopped the “buying gifts for everyone” tradition which had gotten way out of control since with five siblings and spouses and their children we had close to 50 gathering together at Christmastime. We now still have the big gathering but only the five siblings exchange gifts and we each take a different year. That means each one gives a gift only once each five years. We try to make something instead of buy. Last year after my mother in law passed away my husband took barn boards from the barn and made picture frames for each sibling. We put a photo of the family farm inside each frame. The family farm has since been sold and the barn torn down. Each year someone thinks of something that has some sort of connection to family memories. Several years ago one sister took all the ties from grandpa’s closet and made a small framed wall hanging – looks like a star quilt square – with the words “The TIES that bind” embroidered on it. Its easy (since we have five years to work on something!) and the memories of the gift are priceless.


Sara Catherine November 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

A great idea (especially for grandparents) is a box of memories. I bought a very inexpensive box from a craft store. Inside I put 52 (one for every week of the year) different color note cards, each with one special memory that I had with my grandparents. For example, breakfast with Mickey at Disney World or tea parties in the gazebo. They absolutely LOVED the gift, and every time I talk to them they always mention which card they read that week.


Melissa Jones November 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

The greatest gift my husband has ever received from me cost absolutely nothing except my convenience. He knows that whenever he wants any kind of intimacy, whether I feel like it or not, he’s going to get something. He may not get exactly what he wants right then, but his needs are being met by me and me alone. He is proud of this fact, and recognizes it as a gift to be cherished and not taken for granted. He never insists or demands. As an act of love and service, I make sure that his needs are being met.


Cherryl H November 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Several years ago while “treasure” shopping at a local second hand store my Mom found a decorated glass jar, for Christmas that year, she filled it full of goodies for the person who’s name she gotten in the gift exchange, we have a rule that it should be a home made gift, or less then $5 if you feel the need to buy something, the first year she got my Aunt, the following year that jar was then passed on to the person my Aunt got, which was my daughter, which meant the following year it went to the person she got, and so on…. we have had it filled with cookies, bite size candies, a good used pair of pajamas etc… it is so fun to see what creative idea the person who is giving the jar will come up with. We try to figure out something that is a special treat to the reciever… For me it was a good used pair of purple fuzzy jammies, that they bought at garage sales over the summer and saved to stuff in that jar!! (talk about thinking ahead.. We not only have the joy of giving, we now have a new tradition to pass on, and the kids can’t wait to see who gets the jar and what the goodie is inside!


Susan November 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm

I once received all ingredients in a jar to bake a dessert. It was so pretty (everything was all layered) and we just loved the creative gift!


Becky November 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I do bread or jams/jellies (especially hot pepper jelly – not readily available in the store and SOOOO easy to make!).


Regina November 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I like the gift of time. Babysitting for a couple to have a date night, a few hours of cleaning or cooking for a single parent. Those types of things. This could even work for spouses or kids.


Travelinga November 12, 2011 at 4:36 am

Print your favorite photo of the recipient taken over the past year, place it in a cheap frame from a dollar store and woila! Cheap but thoughtful gift.


Jenny November 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Homemade granola! Loved by everyone, everytime… I make mine pretty varied and w/ lots of fiber… make yours w/ what you like! Oats, butter, honey, salt, cinnamon, vanilla ex, various nuts and seeds, millet, wheat bran, ground flaxseed, dried fruit, etc!

My family also does a white elephant exchange that is a joy to watch. We set a $ limit, usually $10, and people can gift anything as long as it’s not junk – new, used, pre-owned, etc. My uncle ended up w/ a little girls’ nail polish set last yr. Everyone trades and barters afterwards.


Anne November 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I like to look in the Housewares section at our local Thrift Store for little treasures during the year and give them as gifts at Christmas and birthdays. Another favorite is personalized crocheted gifts ($4 and a few hours in front of the tube for 3 hats? Yes, please!) Both of these end up being very inexpensive!


Judy November 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I have often made up gift certificates for various services, depending on the family member. It costs nothing, and when redeemed usually makes for some quality time spent together (a manicure/pedicure for mom, a special date for hubby, a trip to the bookstore together–and purchase of a book–for dad).


holli November 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

I like making homemade inexpensive gifts. Homemade soap or shaving soap, mini rice bag hand warmers – heart-shaped, or a crocheted hat or scarf. Something that lets the receiver know you care enough to make something for them.


Vanessa November 19, 2011 at 7:26 am

I make freezer jam every summer, and it’s so easy to add in one more lot, fill small jars and then pull them out and add a ribbon to make a great gift.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: