Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — My hours at work were cut. I can’t afford the same presents for the holidays as I could before. I know this is stupid of me but I can’t help myself. I’m kind of ashamed. Do you have suggestions for gifts or how I can just relax about this? I know I’m being stupid. — Less Mistletoe
Dear Less Mistletoe,
No matter what you celebrate — Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Yule — there is going to be less greenery for many people this year. With, unemployment estimates at more than 15 million people and the number of cutbacks those lucky enough to keep their jobs, Santa will be delivering more tradition and less goodies. There is no reason to fee ashamed. You are trying your best to provide the best Christmas experience possible for your family.
This does not mean that you can’t enjoy a beautiful and bright holiday. On the contrary there are some great, less expensive ways to make the holiday bright. First off, know your budget. If you are spending money on a live Christmas tree — STOP! Invest in a nice artificial tree that you can reuse year after year. The savings will continue to feed your budget for years to come.
Mix homemade and store bought presents under the tree this year. Granddad and Grandmom will be quite happy with a scrapbook of pictures and art work from the kids. Trust me, big hit. Handmade handbags, pillowcases or sleeping bags for the Barbies are easy to sew and keepsakes you and the kids will treasure. Beaded jewelry, mosaic tiles for the garden, any number of easy to do crafts will delight your present openers.
For store bought gifts under the tree, I suggest online shopping CyberMondays for extra savings and check all brands for rebates before making your purchase. This can save you extra cash on big purchases. Also, check out coupons available online . Do your research. You may find what you want on EBay for less. Check second hand stores like CrossRoads Trading Company for high-end fashion items ready for a second life. Listen, no one will say no to a Kenneth Cole leather jacket in great condition because you found it used for under $40. A good buy is a good buy. Remember the old, “need to know basis” rule. For the most part, your giftees need not know.
Remember, Christmas isn’t about how much stuff you have to give or what you get. In truth, the best present you can give your family is your love and attention. It’s the gift Santa can’t bring that they will remember for years to come.
Dear Mistletoe less is more,
In the immortal words of my late night (TV, that is) boyfriend Craig Ferguson, “If you want to avoid the stress of Christmas, become Jewish.” In the best of times, the commercial holiday gift giving season can suck big shiny ornaments! “They” frame Black Friday as consumers supporting retail businesses supporting America. Really?, for once in your patriotic, generous life why not avoid the usual 11th Circle of Shopping Hell and just give…of yourself?
I’ve been bestowed with some pretty darn nice gifts over my lifetime, but the ones that immediately pop to mind are the yummy tangerines in a cute (and no doubt inexpensive by the gross) wire basket I still use daily in my schmancy kitchen, and the hand-computer produced calendar another friend made for me. Beautiful!, and although it was gorgeous looking, I’m referring to the personal nature of the gift itself. Hate fruit? Untalented boob? Remember, some of the things we blow off because they come easily for us in life are the high quality gems of genius in other’s eyes. So just think about what comes naturally for you to create, do, enjoy eating, and those probably most accurately represent the authentic you that your friends and family know and love. DIY this Christmas. Write and gild a poem, or bind a short story. Pull together a themed photo CD of pictures taken on your phone camera. Create coupons for services you’re good at, auto repair, tech support, cooking or running time-saving errands. No time like the present. Get it?
Lastly, check your own gift receiving judgment before projecting it on others you’re giving to. Christmas with a budget doesn’t have to be feared.
It’s recess(ion) time,
Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
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